Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the largest science museum in Europe, is presenting a Fire exhibition that started 10 April 2018 and will run through 6 January 2019. Members of the French Section of The Combustion Institute have contributed their combustion expertise to the exhibition, which explores humanity’s mastery of fire. Aimed at visitors from age nine upwards, the Fire exhibition features audio and video installations, multimedia systems and interactive experiences, and many other exhibits. An investigation game and a smoke room aims to increase visitors’ scientific knowledge and deconstruct preconceptions of fire.

In a press release, Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie states, “Mastering fire has been crucial for humanity. It has driven radical change in our everyday lives and thinking. Our relationship with fire has evolved over time. Still today, it is both fascinating and frightening, conjuring up images of heat, vitality, well-being, creation, progress and technology, but also danger and destruction.”

The Fire exhibition is presented in three parts:

Taming Fire explores how humanity discovered and domesticated fire. It asks and answers questions about what the discovery of fire brought to people. This first part of the exhibition examines the empirical mastery of fire by prehistoric humans.

Understanding Fire reveals the scientific properties. Today’s issues related to fire and the prospects for fire in the future are explored. The importance of combustion and flame research is also covered. In this second section of the exhibition, visitors learn about the scientific and industrial appropriation of fire.

Fighting Fires illustrates and defines destructive fires and how they spread. Fire prevention science and strategies, and firefighting tactics are explored. This third and final part of the exhibition looks at destructive fires and how humans try to get them under control.

Four members of the French Section of The Combustion Institute joined the exhibition’s scientific committee to contribute their expertise: Benoît Fiorina, Section Chair, CentraleSupélec, EM2C CNRS, Alexis Coppalle, UMR 6614 CORIA CNRS, Pascale Desgroux, Université de Lille, PC2A CNRS, and Dany Escudié, INSA Lyon, CETHIL CNRS. The contributors were involved in the design of many items related to laminar and turbulent flames, combustion chemistry and the fighting fire part of the exhibition. They also provided information about the history of combustion science and contributed to the exhibition book. Other members of the French section, such as Daniel Durox, CentraleSupélec, EM2C CNRS, Laurent Zimmer, CentraleSupélec, EM2C CNRS, and Guillaume Pilla, IFP-EN have also contributed by providing videos on flames.

Parts of the Fire exhibition are planned to be itinerant and travel to other international cities as early as the spring of 2019. If other CI Sections are interested in the exhibition, they may contact the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie for more information.

By contributing their expertise to this profound scientific exhibit, members of The Combustion Institute are raising awareness of the importance of fire and combustion research for the advancement of the world’s societies.