Collège de France  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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

It was created in 1530 at the request of King Francis I of France. Of humanist inspiration, this school was established as an alternative to the Sorbonne to promote such disciplines as Hebrew language, Ancient Greek 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 attendance is free and open to anyone, even though some high-level courses are out of reach for the general public. The school's goal is to "teach science in the making" and therefore the professors are chosen among the foremost researchers of the day, with no requisite other than being at the top of their field, in a variety of disciplines, both in 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. Gresham College is perhaps the London equivalent.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Collège de France" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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