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Biographical sketch
Louis Blaringhem (1878-1958)
version française  
 

French botanist and agronomist, born on Feb.1, 1878, in Locon (Pas-de-Calais, France). His father was a teacher.
1895 Obtained his bachelor's degree from the high school in Béthune (Nord, France).
1898 After one year long mathematics preparatory course in Lille (Nord), he was a successful candidate in entrance exams for both the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
1899-1903 Student at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
1903 Obtained the highest academic-rank qualification (aggregation), after passing the French national competitive exam to become a professor in natural sciences ; training in Jacobsen's and Johannsen's laboratories, in Copenhagen (Denmark).
1904 As part of an incentive program to the development of malting barley growing in France, he was entrusted with a scientific mission at a seed testing laboratory, under H. Nilsson, in Svalöf (Sweden), where he initiated into advanced plant breeding ; after returning to Paris, selected malting barley varieties for the maltsters' use.
1903-1907 Associate researcher in geology (1903-1904), then in botany (1904-1907), at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris ; meanwhile, worked at the laboratory of agriculture, under J. Costantin, at the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris ; used to spend the Easter and summer holidays either at the marine biological station in Wimereux (Pas-de-Calais) with A. Giard, or at the marine laboratory in Tatihou, near Saint-Vaast (Seine-Maritime) with Ed. Perrier ; conducted botany research at the laboratory for plant biology in Fontainebleau, under G. Bonnier.
1904-1911 Rent plowed fields in the surroundings of Paris, as testing areas for corn and barley varieties.
1905-1909 Traveled to Amsterdam Botanical Garden each summer, where he was hosted by Hugo de Vries ; conducted research on mutations and hybrids of primrose (Oenothera).
1907 Thesis defense, with a doctoral dissertation topic on the effect of trauma upon variability and heredity, titled Action des traumatismes sur la variation et l'hérédité ; mutation et traumatismes ; translated into French the second edition of the book written by H. de Vries, titled Espèces et variétés, leur origine par mutation ; taught classes in agricultural biology, at the University of Sciences in Paris.
1908 Commenced research on tobacco, searching for the best way of producing nicotine, under E. Roux, who additionally recruited a chemist for measuring out nicotine in pure and hybrid lineages.
1908 The French Academy of Sciences granted him a fellowship Bonaparte, which allowed him to continue research on the variability of species and methods for creating new plant varieties (re-granted in 1909 and 1910).
1909 With the director of a sugar company in Bourdon (Puy-de-Dôme), participated in research on wheat varieties suitable for pasta industry.
1909 Appointed as head of service at the Institut Pasteur by E. Roux, meanwhile being responsible for the arboretum La Maulévrie, near Angers ; at the Institut Pasteur, selected strains of guinea pigs for the inheritable color of their fur, which were intended for experiments on resistance to toxins and microbial infections.
1909 Started publishing the Bulletin scientifique de la France et de la Belgique, together with G. Bohn, M. Caullery, Ch. Julin, F. Mesnil, Ch. Pérez and Et. Rabaud ; became a member of the editorial board of the Revue critique des livres nouveaux ; named secretary of the French Society of Biology (société de biologie).
1910 Became a member of the editorial board of the monthly journal Zeitschrift für induktive Abstammungs und Veresbungslehre published by E. Baur, professor at the University of Berlin.
1912-1922 Appointed as professor in agriculture at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, in Paris.
1914-1918 During First World War, served as a sergeant then as a warrant officer, in the sixth infantry regiment and in the French navy (1914-1915) ; temporarily served as an artillery officer, at the aircraft manufacturing service (1915-1919) ; promoted to be a knight then a commander of Legion of Honor (1918), for his military services.
1919 On June 1, traveled to Cambridge, USA, where he taught classes as a guest professor from the University of Paris, at Harvard University ; in addition, the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers requested him to investigate technical education in the USA.
1922-1929 Appointed as lecturer in botany from the "Ecole Normale", at Sorbonne University.
1923 Published a book titled Pasteur et le transformisme.
1927 Appointed as chair of the French section at the fifth international genetics meeting in Berlin.
1928 Succeeded Léon Guinard as a member of the French Academy of Sciences, in the section of botany.
1928-1929 Appointed as director of the Maison Franco-Japonaise in Tokyo (Japan) ; met Emperor Hirohito several times, who had read every book he had written ; visited countries in Southeast Asia.
1930-1949 Appointed as professor at Sorbonne University.
1947 Elected president of the French Academy of Sciences ; relinquished the chair of botany and devoted himself to activities at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
1949 Although retired, continued to conduct research in a small laboratory at Sorbonne and to serve as head of service at the Institut Pasteur, being responsible for the arboretum Gaston Allard, in Angers.
1958 On Jan.1, died in Paris.

Collaborator : P. Viguier.

Biographical reference tools :
- Blaringhem (Louis): Notice sur les travaux scientifiques, Paris, imprimerie H. Bouillant, 97 p., 1911.

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