Robert Germinet

An Apprenticeship in the Uncertain Preface and Postface by Georges Charak and Leon Lederman, Nobel Prize holders. Publication date : October 1, 1997

"When I got my degree from the Ecole des Mines, I didn't know how to do anything with my hands. But there was nothing surprising about that: I was an unalloyed product of French teaching methods. I realised that it would be useful to teach students not to be afraid to get their hands dirty: to educate future engineers by first of all inculcating in them an experimental approach to science. The idea was to send them out into the field, dressed in workers' overalls; to make them share in the concerns of the technicians, as well as in management's problems: in short, to make them ingenious engineers. At the time, I did not know that Robert Germinet would grant to my opinions the sort of attention that could be expected of someone who had given lengthy thought to such issues. He introduced, at the Ecole des Mines in Nantes, the notion of learning through action. Thanks to a series of experiments undertaken by the student in the privacy of his work-room, this method is now helping to spread such notions as the value of questioning, the importance of observation, and the sense of creativity."
Georges Charak

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.