Centre d’Élaboration de Matériaux et d’Etudes Structurales (UPR 8011)

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The Boule

Wanted by Gaston Dupouy and inaugurated in 1959 by General de Gaulle, the Boule (the bowl), as it is called, is a spherical steel building, 25 metres in diameter, an icon for CEMES, designed to house the 1-million-volt electron microscope that operated from 1960 to 1991.

The original microscope was subsequently dismantled, but the preserved electron accelerator still stands under the vault of the sphere.

The Boule is a rare building, a successful architectural challenge of a director who wanted to make this unique microscope for its time known beyond the circle of specialists.

An article on Gaston Dupouy is available here (in French) and the presentation of the first results to the Académie des Sciences on December 17, 1960, is there (in French).