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Dear Auditory members,

Marie-Claire Botte, a fine hearing scientist and dear friend died recently.
Below is the text that will appear in the October issue of Acta Acustica.

Marie-Claire Botte, 1939-1994.

Marie-Claire Botte was born in Meru (Oise) in 1939. She began
her career as a teacher in a primary school where she taught from
1960 to 1963. While she was preparing her Licence (B.A.) in
Psychology (1964) and her Licence in Science Education (1966), she
worked as a research scientist at the French National Organization for
Transport Security. Thereafter, she joined Prof. Rene Chocholle's
Physiology Laboratory at the College de France and began a career in
hearing science as a Research Scientist in the French National Center
for Scientific Research (CNRS). This work led to her Doctorat d'Etat in
Natural Sciences (D.Sci.), The effects of interaural phase on the
perception of sound intensity, which she received in 1974. When
Chocholle retired in 1981, Marie-Claire moved to the Experimental
Psychology Laboratory at Rene Descartes University where she
joined the Sensory Psychophysics team led by Claude Bonnet. In
1986, Marie-Claire founded the Auditory Perception team in the
same laboratory and was promoted to Research Director in the CNRS.
She led this team until her death on 22 October 1994. She is survived
by Roger Botte and their two sons Ivan and Fabien.

Her numerous publications and contributions to knowledge in
several domains of hearing science mark Marie-Claire Botte as a
scientist of international standing and bear witness to the breadth of
her scientific enterprise. The scope of Marie-Claire's interests over
the course of her career clearly reflect her training both as an
experimental psychologist and as a physiologist. She often sought
through psychophysical and non-invasive psychophysiological
measures to understand the workings of the biopysical and
physiological substrates of hearing. Among the problem areas
addressed by her work, the first included the mechanisms
underlying binaural interactions, auditory fatigue, and the perception
and memory of sound intensity. In these projects she worked closely
with several collaborators and friends in other laboratories,
including, among others, Christel Sorin at the CNET in Lannion, Bert
Scharf at Northeastern University in Boston, Georges Canevet at the
Laboratore de Mecanique et d'Acoustique of the CNRS in Marseille,
and Armand Dancer of the Franco-German Research Institute in Saint
Louis (France). Later in her career Marie-Claire's investigations
extended to other areas as the membership and interests of the
Auditory Perception team diversified under her direction. These
more recent areas included the role of frequency selectivity and the
efferent projections to the cochlea in auditory selective attention, the
perception and discrimination of tempo, and the processes
underlying auditory stream segregation.

Marie-Claire was also well-known for her qualities as a teacher.
She taught auditory physiology and psychoacoustics to young
psychologists, acousticians, architects, neurobiologists, and
audiologists for over 25 years. Her courses were always marked by
an unusual devotion to the spirit of interdisciplinarity. In addition,
her teaching embodied her desire to bring an understanding of the
nature and importance of auditory perception and auditory function
to scientists working in the many realms of acoustic research.
It can be stated without qualification that Marie-Claire was
responsible to a large degree for the state of good health and vigor in
which psychological and physiological research on hearing in France
finds itself today. She also helped make an important place in the
international community for French research in this field by
generously stimulating research collaborations and tirelessly working
to help younger scientists establish connections with investigators in
other countries and find funding to spend time working in their labs.
She was very active within the Societe Francaise d'Acoustique (SFA),
serving a period as Vice-President, and also serving as a member of
the Executive Committee from 1984 to 1990. As a member of the
Hearing group and then as its president from 1984 to 1990, Marie-
Claire assumed her executive functions in an exemplary manner.
Under her guidance and in response to her drive, the Hearing group
came to occupy an important place within the SFA. She developed
many activities within the group: she founded an informal newsletter
for its members; she organized a directory of hearing research labs
with synopses of the various projects in progress; and perhaps most
importantly, she initiated a series of Tutorial Workshops on Hearing
which have given rise to the publication in French (and for some, in
English as well) of didactic summaries of work on the physiology of
the cochlea, psychoacoustics and auditory perception, the central
auditory nervous system, and auditory cognition. These workshops
allowed a large number of SFA members and students from all over
Europe to hear tutorial presentations by international specialists and
to familiarize themselves with the state of the art in the field of
hearing science. The resulting published volumes are a testament to
Marie-Claire's vision of the many avenues of hearing research
forming the terrain for a cohesive scientific community. All who
knew her in the context of the Society can attest to the fact that she
gave generously of her precious time and energy without expecting
anything in return, and perhaps too often without receiving the
appreciation she deserved. The national and international impact of
her work and her important contribution to the social and scientific
life of the SFA was recognized by the Society last year in awarding
her its highest honor, the Medaille d'Argent Francaise.

Finally, there is the role that Marie-Claire played in the day-to-
day life of the Auditory Perception team at the Experimental
Psychology Laboratory. The energy that she invested in our group
has resulted in the fact that today, eight years later, this team has
the greatest number of researchers in auditory psychology in a single
lab in France. Her open mind led also to the broad, yet coherent,
scope of activities that are present in the team today. Many younger
scientists learned to respect and to emulate her uncompromising,
demanding and rigorous scientific spirit. But we also learned that
science is very often a social enterprise, requiring a lot of give and
take, as well as a great deal of devotion both to the scientific goals
and to goals of social cohesion. Marie-Claire Botte's example will live
on in the memories of those who knew her, but the research
community will still regret the tragic loss of this grande dame de la

        Clarisse Baruch
        Carolyn Drake
        Stephen McAdams