joel chevrier
Core fellow
Joël is a distinguished senior scientist, a full-time professor at Université Grenoble Alpes with the background in physics and nanoscience.
Joel's Bio


Alliance Sciences&Design based on Technologies to explore

The Moving Body at the Heart of Learning by Leveraging Digital Technology

for the future of Education, Sports and Health

One of his major present interest is hacking ambient technologies (several billions of Smartphones with many microsensors inside) to explore new paradigms about learning based on movements and gestures.

He is supervising two PhD projects which give the context of his presence in this project:

- Marion Voillot : "The Body at the Heart of Learning leveraging Digital Technology: Exploring a New Paradigm for Early Childhood Education" A major concept is "embodied cognition". 

Within thesis research activity of Marion Voillot, together with Frederic Bevilacqua at IRCAM, this research group develops the CoMo Education project. CoMo stands for Collective Movements. CoMo by IRCAM is a collection of prototype web apps for movement-based sound interaction, targeting collective interaction using mobile phones. CoMo Education from IRCAM and CRI Paris is the dedicated interface designed for kindergarten. Teachers can develop their own pedagogical scenarios which include a story such as "the sleeping giant", and the associated collective gestures. Thanks to the COMO-IA system, these gestures are pre-recorded by teachers together with children and further identified as children are moving according to the story scenario. In doing this, they learn to follow and to understand a story, to move collectively to obtain the sounds or music associated to the story. How this provides new tools for improving children learning on all these aspects is now an on going research. 

- Ana Phelippeau : "Neuromotor Prerequisites for handwriting in children" Contribution of standardized & Digital neuro-developmental tools. This research at CRI Paris is collaboration together with Emmanuelle Pouydebat at Museum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle and Laurence Vaivre at Hopital Necker. It explores the necessary conditions for writing at kindergarten beyond an important variability of schemes and developments of gestures. It is based on combination of two different approaches. On one side, there are ecological technologies developed at CRI Paris using large audience microsensors found in Smartphones. These sensors record data associated to movements and positions of body, arm and hand when grasping a pen. On the other side, this research uses clinical normalized tests created by Laurence Vaivre to evaluate the neuro-psychomotor functions of children aged 4 to 8 and a half years old. 

His collaboration with designers on education projects related to movement, sound and learning, is central in his research strategy. Sciences&Design collaboration drives the collaborative emergence of innovative devices and prototypes built on scientific critical references and literacy and in intimate collaboration with stakeholders such as teachers.

Project Hitbox with designer Adrien Husson: Hitbox is an interactive boxing bag made to (re)learn how to move, to put your body back in motion by playing. Who comes to hit this "keyboard screen"? From children to top athletes.

Project Soft Mirror with designer Claire Eliot: Soft mirror is a work of art composed of a wall of animated petals (now 64 petals but ultimately more than 100 petals on a 2mx2m wall) . It is a non-metallic mirror made of e-fabric or connected textile, which is capable of kinetic and sound interactions with the observer. The observer is led to question his relationship to the digital, to himself and to others. Soft Mirror is in fact a lab for interactivity based on body motion, audio and visual interaction. It requires practicing and learning control of body movements to build a poetic and multi sensory dialogue.  

See here an introduction: How artificial intelligence will transform how we gesture published in TheConversation

Short Bio

After 2010, with the exponential development of mobile devices and anticipated major changes in education, he has developed an activity in pedagogical innovation based on the use of “ambiant numerical technologies”.

He is former deputy Education Vice-President of the University Joseph Fourier in charge of Scientific Culture and of University-Lycée partnership (2011-2014). As deputy Research Vice-President of the University Joseph Fourier (2007-2010), he was in charge of Engineering, Physical, Sciences, and Nanosciences. He has been responsible of a Master Program in Nanotechnology and Nanosciences at UJF. His current research in physics is based on instrument developments in Scanning Probe Microscopy at LIPhy@UGA. He has taught courses on Nanophysics, Sensors and Actuators, Scanning Probe Microcopy. From 1995-2015, he has developed a research activity in Nanomechanics at the Institut Néel CNRS in close collaboration with European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.


Professor Joel Chevrier (60)

Full Professor of physics at Université Grenoble Alpes (1998 (38) -…)

Appointed part time Professor (“en délégation”) at CRI Paris (Université Paris Descartes) (9/2015-...) and Research Fellow at CRI Paris

Invited Professor at Lisbon University (Portugal) 2015-…

Invited Professor at Tsinghua University (ARWU China: 1, World: 48) in 2017-…



  • Professional life until beginning of the XXI century:

o  Research group leader in Nanosciences at Néel Institute and at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

o  Deputy Vice President at Université Joseph Fourier (UJF now part of Université Grenoble Alpes).

o  Teaching at various levels from 1rst year to Master level.

  •  After 2010, with the exponential development of mobile devices and anticipated major changes in education, development of an activity in pedagogical innovation based on the use of “ambiant numerical technologies”.

o   Joined the CRI Paris (Université Paris Descartes) in 2015 as part time Professor at Université Paris V (“en délégation”)

  • Numbers

o   From Google, H-index: 34; Citations > 4000; more than 150 articles 

o   Thesis supervision: 15 (+4 on going)

More details

Major past responsibilities (2004-2014):

o   Deputy Research Vice-president Université Grenoble Alpes in charge of university science policy in engineering, physics, collaborations with European large-scale facilities present in Grenoble (ESRF, ILL), physics, nanosciences and nanotechnologies. (2007-2010).

o   Deputy Education Vice-president Université Grenoble Alpes in charge of scientific culture and university interface with Highschool French national system. (2011-2014).

o   Director of an interdisciplinary Master program in nanotechnologies and nanosciences (2004-2007).

Innovation in pedagogy (2015-…):

o   Creation of a Bachelor course “beyond disciplines”: Fab Lab Jam Session (2014-…). Students from different academic disciplines associated to design and arts students. Teams work on projects and produce prototypes for a final exhibition.

o    Teaching experimental physics using Smartphones at University Grenoble Alpes (2013-…) 

o   PI of a Sciences&Design research grant funded by a Agence Nationale de la Recherche (2014-2018). Science, Design Society: factory of the contemporary worlds.

o   Master EdTech at CRI Paris

o  In charge of the « Learning by doing » teaching module (2015-…) with Kevin Lhoste

o  Course « epistemology of Learning by Doing » (2016-…)

o  Creation of the MOOC Smartphone Pocket Lab (2015-…): how to use Smartphone to enter experimental science

o  Senior mentor in 4 OpenFiesta Workshops at Tsinghua University (Shenzhen, Chine, 2016-…)

o  Supervision with Sophie Pene of a Phd candidate, Ke Fang (graduate student from Tsinghua University): “Experimental study of creative behaviors when acting as a scientific researcher. “

o  Supervision of a thesis in didactic of physics (thesis defense in 2013). Collaboration with Laboratoire STEF ENS Cachan. « Nanotechnologies at highschool: a research on Highschool student understanding of scientific controversies about nanotechnologies»

o  Creation of Science&Design Bachelor program at UGA (2011-…) with Françoise Jung


@ CRI: creation and supervision of the MotionLab (2017)

Creation of the CRI MotionLab in 2017.

·  Enhancement of human perception. TheMotionLab explores innovative pedagogical uses of mobile devices based on movements and gestures. Sensors in these devices capture everybody movements in real time. Produced data feed audio-visual dedicated representations to monitor body movements.

·  Education, health, sports, arts and well-being. In collaboration with prominent research institutes such as IRCAM Paris, ENSCI Les Ateliers, Hôpital Necker, Museum d’Histoire Naturel, applications of these original and interactive audio/visual representations are then developed in the major fields of interest for CRI.

·  Example of health application: a joint program is being built with Joël Belmin head of geriatric unity at Hospital Charles Foix Ivry sur Seine

·   4 staff members. Key expertise: design, physics, computer science, pedagogy.

·   First publications of the CRI Mobile Lab on education in international conference MOCO 2017:

o  Maria Montessori meets gesture tracking technologies, A. Husson, J. Chevrier

o  Collaborative 2D center of mass serious game, M. Hamamda and J. Chevrier

Research in physics and in nanotechnologies

As a physicist original background in experimental Solid State Physics, (superconductivity, silicon MBE, quasicrystals). After 1995, Scanning Probe Microscopy instrumentation: investigation of interactions at micro/nanoscales such as Casimir Force (quantum vacuum fluctuations), combination with X ray, near field heat transport…

Head of a Research activity in Nanomechanics at the Institut Néel CNRS and co-supervision of the Surface Science Lab. at ESRF with Fabio Comin, ESRF physicist.

During the last 5 years, development of instrumentation for soft condensed matter and biology. Measurement of interactions in liquid at micro/nanoscale.

Supervision of one PhD candidate with a 3 year Grant (2017-2019).

Currently researcher at Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique (LIPhy).

Sciences, Design, Arts:

·   PI of Descitech project (2014-2018): « Sciences, design and society: the factory of contemporary worlds »

·   Scientific curator of the Soulages Arts&Sciences exhibition « Noir, c’est noir ? » Lausanne Switzerland (2016-2017)

·   Blog « un physicien au musée »  

·   Member of Strategic Council at ENSCI Les Ateliers Paris (2017-…). Top 1 design school in France.

·   Member of the Board at Ecole Supérieure d’Arts et de Design Grenoble/Valence (2015-...)

·   Member of Scientific Comity of Exhibition “Science Frugale” at science museum Espace Pierre Gilles de Gennes 

·   Member of Scientific Comity of Exhibition “Luminopolis” at science museum Cap Sciences (Bordeaux 2017-2018).

·   Collaboration with Giuseppe Penone for Essere vento : we pushed sculpture on sand grain down the micrometer size. Exhibition Corps de Pierre 2017.

·   Collaboration with choreographer Yoann Bourgeois exhibitions at Pantheon Paris 2017 and at Prisme Seyssins 2018 (Experimenta) 

o  "For an artist to be relevant, he must have a singular work and address universal questions.": said Jennifer Flay, Director of the International Contemporary Art Fair in Paris. As a scientist, I work with others scientists on universal questions. When I collaborate with an artist, we certainly deal with a universal question. But the mystery is : what makes the meeting magic ? 

o  « Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else.» Donald Knuth. I am not sure I agree with this one.


Key dates

1983: Graduation at Grenoble Institut National Polytechnique

1985: Doctor in physics Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble

1986: University of Cambridge UK Postdoctoral researcher (1 year) Research associate at Darwin College

1987: Physicist at Institut Laue Langevin (2 years) European neutron facility for research. Neutron diffraction.

1988: Junior CNRS researcher Marseille CRMC2

1993: HDR « Qualified as research supervisor » Université de la Méditerranée Marseille

1994: Fellowship of A. von Humboldt foundation. One year at visiting researcher at KFA Jülich RFA Germany.

1998: appointed Professor of the Université Grenoble Alpes

1998-2015: Senior researcher at Néel Institute and scientific collaborator at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

2009-2010: Sabbatical Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University: research in Nanomechanics (Pr. Raman) and use of Haptic devices in teaching science (Pr. Hong Tan)

2014-… Join the Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires (CRI Paris) as a part time Professor at Université Paris Descartes.


Some relevant scientific publications

1.   Can a smartphone be a HomeLab? J Chevrier, L Madani, A Bsiesy, Full paper at Design Conference: LearnxDesign Chicago 2015

2.   Imaging material properties of biological samples with a force feedback microscope, L Costa, MS Rodrigues, E Newman, C Zubieta, J Chevrier, F Comin, Journal of Molecular Recognition 26 (12), 689-693, 2013

3.   Nanotechnology and nanoscale science: Educational challenges, MG Jones, R Blonder, GE Gardner, V Albe, M Falvo, and J Chevrier, International Journal of Science Education 35 (9), 1490-1512, 2013

4.   Teaching classical mechanics using smartphones, J Chevrier, L Madani, A Bsiesy, The Physics Teacher 51 (6), 376-377, 2013

5.   Nanoscale radiative heat flow due to surface plasmons in graphene and doped silicon, PJ Van Zwol, S Thiele, C Berger, WA De Heer, J Chevrier, Physical review letters 109 (26), 264301, 2012

6.   Radiative heat transfer at the nanoscale, Rousseau, Siria, Jourdan, Volz, Comin, Chevrier, Greffet, Nature Photonics 3 (9), 514-517, 2009

7.   Quantitative non-contact dynamic Casimir force measurements, G Jourdan, A Lambrecht, F Comin, J Chevrier, EPL (Europhysics Letters) 85 (3), 31001, 2009


Gymnase augmente
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Mass Affect
Mass Effect is a multi-pedagogical serious game based on the control of the center of mass
Hitbox: interactive boxing bag
" Get the kids back on the move." Combining interdisciplinary pedagogy and health
Where anybody can prototype using motion sensing for health, education, sport
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Le jeu MassAffect : dessiner en improvisant à deux, mais mathématiquement !