Jean Paul Legros (France)
Address: 1 bis rue de Verdun, 34000 Montpellier, France
Position: President of French Soil Science Association AFES (2009-2010)
1. When did you decide to study soil science?
When I began in agronomy in a specialized school, I was interested by all the subjects. So, I believed that it would be logical to study first the soil, then the plant, then the food transformation, and finally the market. Being 67 years old, I have not already dominated the first step (soil); it is a little too late to begin with the other ones.
2. Who has been your most influential teacher?
Professor Emmanuel Servat ( Montpellier ). He had not the best character and was not the more famous French professor that were in this old time Philippe Duchaufour and Jean Boulaine. But when Servat explained in his lectures the nature of podzols or chernozems he gave the desire to work in pedology to a lot of students.
3. What do you find most exciting about soil science?
Pedogenesis because it allows us to dream and to tackle the infinity, in the big dimension because some soils are several millions years old and also in the smallest dimension if you consider that a particle of clay has a structure as beautiful as diamond but much more complicated and interesting.
4. How would you stimulate teenagers and young graduates to study soil science?
I try to explain that soil is the real center of the world in term of biodiversity, food supply, Culture (archeology), etc.
5. How do you see the future of soil science?
After three or four technological decades in which men tried to make abstraction of Nature with the help of machines and the use of too much simplified economical rules, I see that new views are emerging that takes care of environment . In such a context I am sure that soil science will be more and more recognized as important. Finally, I am very optimist for the future of our discipline. But we have to seize the opportunity and to prove each day its practical utility for everybody.