Robert Germinet

The Ingenious Engineer Practical Exercises Publication date : October 1, 1997

"Over a period of several years at the European Nuclear Research Centre, I met young engineers from many different countries. The French students--though knowledgeable and their heads well-crammed with facts--were often incapable of functioning without the assistance of a highly-qualified technician who knew how to repair material. Their German colleagues, on the other hand, were capable of rolling up their sleeves and using a soldering iron. In this era of European construction, it is high time that we changed our approach to teaching. And herein lies the interest in methods that rely on learning through action.
`More than twenty such teaching methods are undergoing experimentation in the United States. In its concrete efforts to prove that such methodology may be successfully adapted to French culture, and in integrating it into the normal course work of engineering students, the Ecole des Mines in Nantes has opened a promising new avenue in the training of engineers in France."
Georges Charpak
Robert Germinet, who holds a doctorate in physics, is the director of the Ecoles des Mines, Nantes, and regional director for industry, research and the environment for the Pays de la Loire.