AP French students interview renowned scientist to improve their skills

Contributed by the AP French class.

On February 24, 2021, the AP French class of Dublin High School in Dublin, California met with physicist Dr. Laurent Divol from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for an exercise in their French language studies. The meeting was conducted as an interview entirely in French, centered around his experiences in the field of science and technology.

Dr. Divol speaking to DHS’s AP French Students about his experience as a French scientist in America. To the right of the image, Madame Etesse is noting some important AP French vocabulary in the chat.

Dr. Laurent Divol of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and Photon Science Directorate was among one of the four scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory selected as 2020 fellows of the American Physical Society. He works at the NIF’s High Energy Density (HED) science program. He was selected “for fundamental contributions to laser-plasma physics in hohlraums and other HED experiments, and for leadership in the design of high-yield deuterium-tritium experiments.”

Students at Dublin High School used their conversational skills in a practical application about the field of science and technology as a part of their AP curriculum. The interview challenged students to practice their formal speaking using high-level vocabulary and sentence structures. This interview covered topics on scientific discovery and research, allowing the students to see how learning a new language like French is tied to STEM careers — it opens new doors to communicating with professionals on a global scale.

Dr. Divol and AP French Students introducing themselves to each other. (AP French)

A student attending the interview stated that “it felt validating to be able to understand someone else’s French outside of a class setting.”

Throughout the interview, Dr. Divol offered invaluable advice and shared insights on his scientific career as well as the paths he took to achieve his goals. He also provided insight on the differences between universities in France and in the US, explaining how academic pursuits were stricter in France than in the US.

“It made me realize how much I could comprehend and respond when put into such a situation,” commented another student.