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Courtyard of the Collège de France.

The Collège de France is a higher education and research establishment (Grand établissement) located in Parismarker, Francemarker, in the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, across the street from the historical campus of La Sorbonnemarker at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue des Ecoles. It mainly supports research; it also provides teaching, but to professors and researchers.

It was established in 1530 byKing Francis I of Franceat the urging of Guillaume Budé. Of humanist inspiration, this school was established as an alternative to the Sorbonnemarker to promote such disciplines as Hebrew language,Ancient Greek (the first teacher being the celebrated scholar Janus Lascaris) and Mathematics. Initially called Collège Royal, and later Collège des Trois Langues (Latin: Collegium Trilingue), Collège National, Collège Impérial, it was named Collège de France in 1870.

What makes it unique is that each professor is required to give lectures where attendance is free and open to anyone, even though some high-level courses are not open to the general public. The school's goal is to "teach science in the making" and therefore the professors are chosen from among the foremost researcher of the day, with no requirement other than that of being at the top of their fields. They are chosen from a variety of disciplines, in both science and the humanities. Even though the motto of the Collège is "Docet Omnia," Latin for "It teaches everything," its goal can be best summed up by Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phrase: "Not preconceived notions, but the idea of free thought" which is burned in golden letters above the main hall of the Collège building.

The Collège does not grant degrees, but has research laboratories, as well as one of the best research libraries of Europe, with sections focusing on history with rare books, humanities, social sciences, but also chemistry or physics.

As of June 2009, over 650 audio podcasts of College de France lectures are available on iTunes. Only a handful of those are in English. Similarly, the College de France's website host several videos of classes (including Mathematics, which are not available on the podcast).


The faculty of the Collège de France currently comprises fifty-two Professors, elected by the Professors themselves from amongst eminent French scholars in a wide range of subjects. Chairs cover a range of subjects including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, archaeology, linguistics, oriental studies, philosophy, the social sciences and other fields. In addition, two chairs are reserved for foreign scholars who are invited to give lectures.

Present Chairs, College of France

Past faculty include (see also full list since 1530):


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