Paul Boudault: the science enthusiast from Charente

Paul Boudault, 33 years old, five of whom…

Paul Boudault, 33, five of whom spent at Espace Mendès France, between Charente and Charente-Maritime, has a taste for demonstration. Optical illusions, gears, movement of the Earth and stars, discovery of the solar system… Science, in the broad sense, invites itself into the workshops he leads all year round. “During the school holidays, it mainly happens here, rue de Montmoreau. Apart from holidays, I work in schools, media libraries, leisure centres… From March to June, I was on the move almost every day. »

Studies away from teaching

That is between 30 and 40 workshops that run and rely entirely on him. Enough to avoid routine for this Charentais of origin, who passed his baccalaureate at Lisa. After a double master’s degree in biology and environmental management (“I always found the name too technocratic”), he spent three years in Vasles (Deux-Sèvres), as project manager for Agenda 21. Then it was the big departure: several months in New Zealand and Australia, with friends, working in the hotels, restaurants, on ranches… “The return to reality was a bit brutal”, he concedes. He finally arrives in Angoulême. “It still feels good to settle down. »

Finally, when he has time. The least we can say is that he does not count his hours. “But I love my job”, he clarifies immediately. It’s so obvious. Whether his audience is 4 years old or approaching retirement, he puts the same passion into his demonstrations and explanations, he who was not intended at all for the teaching world. The Curioz’été workshops were a hit all season long. And he is already preparing the Science Festival in October. “In fact, we train all the time, we rework the workshops… And we adapt to the public, always. It is the children who build the session very often. We help them to formulate scientific hypotheses, we discuss the results. »

Just because you’re a science mediator doesn’t mean you have to look like a mad scientist.

He also wants to get out of the walls of the Mendès France space. “The children who come to the workshops are already sensitized. This is not the case, for the most part, for those in priority neighbourhoods. While they have mad energy, they have a thousand questions. » An energy that is sometimes difficult to channel, by his own admission. Each mediator can have his technique to capture their attention. “Everyone also has their favorite area. »

“Knowledge broker”

He is particularly fond of… creating shows. “Repeating again and again, finding the right turn, testing manipulations… It’s like a show. » Round glasses, suit jacket, Paul Boudault embodies his subject. “Just because you’re a scientific mediator doesn’t mean you have to look like a mad scientist”, he laughs. And above all, the show makes it possible to combine a scientific explanation with an artistic staging. “A real show has nothing to do with a class. It’s beautiful to see and it allows everyone to talk to. Art can be a common language between different stakeholders. That’s why I gave up the search. I wanted more connection with people. »

Here it is served. Between two soap bubble workshops (“which we could very well adapt for adults, by taking an interest in the physics of materials for example”), he also trains Inspe students to do science at school. “I show them manipulations, which they can redo on D-Day with the students present. It helps desacralize math and science, both for teachers and children. »

A “knowledge broker” : difficult to better summarize the mediator that he is. The quote is not from him, but from Jamy Gourmaud, the unforgettable host and mediator of the show This is not rocket science, which will have made discover the mysteries of the world to hundreds of children. We would lend him an air with Paul Boudault, between the round glasses and this ability to seize his audience in two sentences and a model of papier-mâché. The comparison flatters him. “Of course I want to be the same. Besides, I extend the invitation, if he wants to come! »

But it’s not the first name that comes to mind when he talks about his models. “The astronaut Thomas Pesquet, the diver and biologist Laurent Ballesta, or Anita Conti… She was the first French oceanographer, the first to observe overfishing! Beyond scientific work, they used photography, the verb, to transmit. They are pioneers. » The mediator, usually so calm, suddenly becomes animated. Her turn to have stars in her eyes.

It is perhaps his secret, the one that makes him so fascinating for dozens of children and adults: to have remained a big child.

Espace Mendès France on Instagram: espacemendesfrance16_17.

In dates

2013 : it’s the end of studies for Paul Boudault. After a degree in biology and ecology, focused on the marine world, in La Rochelle, headed for a master’s degree in Perpignan; before a second master’s degree in project management linked to sustainable development, again in La Rochelle.
2013 – 2016 : Agenda 21 project manager for the municipality of Vasles (79). Eco-districts, eco-schools, transport, community life, it touches on all aspects.
2016 – 2017 : several months between New Zealand and Australia, in PVT (Working Holiday Program).
2017 : After a season teaching diving in the south of France, he was hired as a mediator at the Mendès France space in Angoulême.

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