Jean-Pierre Changeux

The Life of Forms and the Forms of Life Publication date : September 20, 2012

Jean-Pierre Changeux, an honorary professor at the Collège de France and the author of Matière à pensée and L’Homme de vérité, along with Antoine Compagnon, Stanislas Dehaene, Philippe Descola and Alain Prochiantz, all professors at the Collège de France, have gathered here a brilliant galaxy of scientists and academics representing a wide range of disciplines.

‘Everything is form, and life itself is a form,’ wrote Balzac. ‘Formal relations within a work and between works constitute a metaphor of the Universe,’ observed the French art historian Henri Focillon in The Life of Forms.
The present work, based on a colloquium held at the Collège de France, in October 2011, explores form from a variety of angles: philosophical and mathematical definitions, the origins of atomic form, early life forms and their evolution, the ‘layering’ of brain forms, mental and social forms.
It concludes with a section on the work of art and a tribute to the art historian André Chastel, a professor at the Collège de France (1970–1984) and author of Fables, formes, figures.

• Stimulating contributions by eminent experts on a subject that ranges over many disciplines.