A welcome from Jean Gayon & Philippe Huneman, local organizers.

We are happy to welcome all of you to Montpellier for the next ISHPSSB meeting, July 7-12 2013. Montpellier is a Mediterranean city, capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon, a region in the south of France, very close to the seashore.

It is a middle size city, easy to travel around, either with buses and tramways, or simply walking. It is easily accessible from Europe, Australia and America: 1 hour from Paris by plane, with many flights every day, from regular and low-cost airlines, and connections to major European cities. It is 3.30 hours from Paris with the high speed train (TGV). It also enjoys a nice warm and dry summer weather.

For anyone interested in the history or philosophy of the life sciences, Montpellier is a perfect city to meet for many reasons. It is a city with a long and rich tradition in Medicine and natural history: the oldest Faculté de Médecine in France still hosted in its initial buildings (see picture above); the vitalist school of Medicine, flourishing in the 18th century, etc. The city holds the oldest botanical garden of France and one of the oldest in Europe associated with a famous herbarium. Today it is the most important European research site in ecological and environmental sciences, agronomy and ecology (over 2300 researchers), with dozens of research teams in these disciplines, and many types of equipments. Many of these institutions expressed their interest in welcoming the ISHPSSB Conference.

Biologists from the area will be glad to attend the meetings and present some of their work in symposia, which will give all of us chances to learn about of the biology done here and allow for fruitful interactions. Moreover, they will be happy to show you some places of particular interests, and are planning visits for us to the Museum of the History of Medicine, and the exceptional Ecotron equipment (one of the three in Europe) used to set ecological experiments.

The conference will be primarily organized by the Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST, CNRS/Université Pantheon Sorbonne. www-ihpst.univ-paris1.fr), an institution which includes a strong team in history and philosophy of biology. This team, made of faculty, post-docs and PhD students, will be strongly invested in supporting the conference. The local organization committee also involves the Université Montpellier III, with  the partnership of Agropolis International (http://www.agropolis.org/about/index.php), representing Montpellier ‘s scientific community in the field of agriculture, food, biodiversity and environment . Through this structure, as well as through the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, www.cnrs.fr) of which the IHPST is a part, we hope to have significant funding at local and national scales, so that we can keep registration fees quite low. Wishing to host a meeting as friendly as possible in the spirit of the previous meetings, we will also pay special attention to social events, finding a nice place to host the society banquet, with a quite low cost in order to maximize the diversity of the participants.

The meeting will be held at Centre Saint-Charles (Université Montpellier 3, http://www.univ-montp3.fr/), located in the Centre of the city. This Centre has just been totally renewed and equiped, and is wonderfully located. It is close from the centre of the City (thus easily accessible for those who will choose to go in an hotel); students dorms are approx. 15′ from Centre Saint-Charles by tram. Nice hotels with a wide range of prices (we will try to offer  negotiated discounts) are to be found in the city center, a10/15 minutes walk in the old pedestrian streets (or 5/10 by tramway) from the campus.

Within the city, you will enjoy the beautiful setting of a downtown with a rich history, experience varieties of provençal cuisine, as well as the diversity and sophistication of the local wines, the Languedoc Roussillon being a country of vineyards.

Finally, there are many reasons to extend your stay in order to experience the richness of the Languedoc area: nearby you will find plenty of beautiful landscapes and settings along the sea shore, like the beach of Palavas les Flots (30 min by bus) or the beautiful old harbor of Sète, as well as in the hinterlands where small Occitan villages, various types of vegetations and hiking trails are easily found. The famous Pont du Gard, a roman aqueduct, as well as the roman cities of Nîmes and Arles with their archaeological remains, are in the vicinity. Further afield you can move either west to Barcelona and the Catalonian country (Spain), or east to Marseille, Provence and the French Riviera.

We have no doubt that for each of you there will be many treasures in Montpellier and around which will fit your taste and expectations.The conference website is located <a href="http://www.ishpssb2013.org">here</a> and call for papers is located <a href="http://ishpssb2013.sciencesconf.org/">here</a>.