From:    at <Steve.McAdamsIRCAM.FR>
Date:    Tue, 15 Nov 1994 21:04:04 -0500

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 science. Clarisse Baruch Carolyn Drake Stephen McAdams

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