Both current crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming, underscore the importance of popularizing science. This is not only to generate interest in scientific careers but also to assist decision-makers in making informed choices and to foster analytical thinking among the general population. It is for these reasons that science popularization has been a longstanding program of UNESCO, recognized as a crucial aspect of democracy. However, it is true to say that this type of pedagogy is underdeveloped and not well-recognized by our institutions. For many years, I have been actively involved in various initiatives aimed at popularizing science.

Popularization for participating in scientific progress and reaping its benefits.

This action is mentioned in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” As scientists, our goal is to impact and transform the world, but it is our responsibility to communicate and elucidate how we bring about those changes. The role of science in our society positions scientific knowledge as an indispensable asset for every citizen, encompassing not only knowledge itself but also methods and values.

Popularization for fostering interest in scientific careers

It is evident that only a limited number of students aspire to become scientists, and even fewer express interest in materials specialists. This field remains unfamiliar to them, as it may not appear important or significant enough. It is often perceived as outdated and obsolete. Consequently, significant efforts must be directed towards middle schools, high schools, and early university years to address this issue.

Transferring knowledge to the next generations of researchers

Sharing our results is one of my mottos. In addition to conducting microscopy courses for doctoral researchers, I am also actively involved in establishing a program called Oser la Recherche durant la formatION (ORION) at the Université de Lorraine. This program functions as a research club with two primary objectives: to introduce students to research prior to pursuing a Ph.D. or even a master’s degree, and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among students from diverse backgrounds.