July 30, 2021

Find excerpts from “Raoult. A French madness ”, an investigation by Ariane Chemin and Marie-France Etchegoin

Good leaves. “I am going to tell you something that I did not tell anyone”, launches Didier Raoult. We are seated opposite the famous professor in the office which serves as his HQ in Marseille. At the start of spring 2021, we have just asked him if he has already had his intelligence measured, which he seems to make such a big deal about. This is where he reveals his secret: “One day when I was 14, a child psychiatrist said to my father, ‘Look, your kid has 180 IQ. Let him do it. Everything will be alright.” “

An intelligence quotient of 180! The standard IQ turns, it seems, around 100 and, to belong to the “geniuses”, it is necessary to exceed the bar of 140. Neither Einstein (160), Copernic (130) or Mozart (150) have never reached this level. score. What message is the Marseille scientist sending when, on the top floor of his hospital, we are trying to understand the springs of his personality?


It’s kind of a void in the middle of his resume. Or rather an ellipse, but so highlighted in the legend of Didier Raoult that one can only wonder what is hidden there. This hidden part of existence, which extends from 1970 to 1972, begins when [le jeune Raoult] runs away from his high school and ends when, obeying his father, he agrees to embrace the medical career.

The professor’s “official” biography () sees in this twenty-four month episode a proof of Raoultian originality. () “He sets out to sail the seas. “ Which ones? This detail is not informed, yet the silhouette of the privateer is emerging. “Reluctant to authority”, fleeing “Education at the baton of his father’s military”, refusing to leave “Mold to the mold of family mythologies” (), the young man “Bourlingue”.

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On what kind of boat? Most often it is referred to a “Merchant marine vessel”. [Il s’agit en réalité d’un] elegant liner from the Paquet Cruises with a tapered bow. “Comfort, atmosphere, privacy”, boasted at the time, enticing the “Luxury clientele”, ads. () The Renaissance was neither a tanker nor an oil-stinking merchant ship. “On board, I was a deckman”, says today the boss of the IHU, the University Hospital Institute, Marseille. But still ? “Handyman what, factotum.” “ For how long ? “I don’t know, maybe six months. No more in any case. “ The myth of two years takes a hit.

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