[Café des Sciences Moebius] The Blob, a amoebas like no other

Research Science and society On-site
12 April

Meet Laurent Palka, Associate Professor at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, on Friday April 12 at 6pm at the Bibliothèque Mines Paris – PSL at Fontainebleau.



Physarum polycephalum is a species of protista, i.e. eukaryotic micro-organisms that feed, reproduce, move, etc. in a unicellular state. We’ll see where they fit in the tree of life. Their life cycle begins with a microscopic stage in which amoebae feed on bacteria. If two amoebas meet and merge, the resulting cell grows as it feeds and its nuclei divide, becoming macroscopic, hand-sized or larger. In biology, this is known as a plasmode. Its color becomes yellow and its appearance viscous on dead wood or forest litter. The giant amoeba feeds mainly on decomposing organic matter. Known to the public and the media as the Blob, the most famous amoeba never ceases to create a buzz and fascinates both science and society, reacting with mysterious logic when placed in certain situations.

Laurent Palka is an associate-lecturer at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. He is the author of a popular article on the blob in The Conversation, and regularly gives public lectures on the subject, such as:

  • The Blob and other mysterious protists (Open University of Versailles) in April 2022
  • Les mystères du Blob (Université du temps libre en Essonne, Verrières le Buisson) in November 2023


Register here



The Café des Sciences

These scientific meetings are held on the 2nd Friday of each month at 6pm at the Bibliothèque Mines Paris – PSL, 38 Rue Saint-Honoré, Fontainebleau. The format takes the form of a one-hour scientific talk by a researcher on a specific topic, followed by a debate with the audience.

The aim of these events is to:

  • disseminate scientific knowledge and culture ;
  • strengthen the link between researchers and the general public, science and society ;
  • combat misinformation ;
  • to discover scientific fields.



Practical informations :

Date : Friday, April 12, 2024
Time : 6 p.m.
Location : Bibliothèque Mines Paris – PSL, 38 Rue Saint-Honoré, Fontainebleau 77300