The French Natural History Museum held an international workshop from June 6 to 8, 2018 called “Meteorites – Understanding the origin of Planetodiversity”, in connection with an exhibition in the museum’s Gallery of Evolution which ran from October 18, 2017 to June 18, 2018. The event was financed entirely by the SCOR Foundation.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together around 100 international scientists to take stock of research on meteorites and to present the latest advances on the topic, illustrating their discussions through the museum’s “Meteorites” exhibition.
There were numerous reasons behind the Museum’s decision to organize a workshop and an exhibition on meteorites. Its meteorite collection is one of the richest in the world, and the third largest collection in terms of observed falls. On an international level, the museum’s researchers are closely involved in cosmophysics and astrophysics research, and in the field of space exploration. The museum thus has a unique team of experts reporting to meteorite specialist Matthieu Gounelle, who organized the workshop and curated the exhibition.
Meteorites are also feared objects, and the exhibition examined the fear they inspire. It also looked at the disappearance of the dinosaurs and the frequency of the very largest meteorite falls. The concept of risk was discussed during the workshop and in the exhibition, along with the various ways contemplated to protect us all from the impact of a giant asteroid.
The exhibition, extended until January 2019, averaged 848 visitors per day in the 33 weeks since it began in April 2018. In June 2018, SCOR Foundation for Science sponsored an international symposium on meteorites at the museum, which brought together 140 participants representing 50 European and Asian laboratories, as well as 20 researchers from the museum itself.