The above is a copyrighted picture. All rights reserved. © 2013 Gerard Michon.
Gules, a saltire gyronny of sixteen Or and Sable.
(Assumed May 3, 2013)
De gueules, au sautoir gironné d'or et de sable, de 16 pièces. [ CFH 2013 / 892 ]
For centuries, the family of Gérard's father Henry Michon (1907-1968) roamed the same part of central France as an extended noble family going by the moniker of Michon de Vougy de Pierreclos du Marais (or parts thereof). The various branches of that family bore differenced arms, often blazonned after the pattern: Azure, something Or between three things Argent. The genealogical research conducted in the 1990's by Robert Michon (Gérard's late half-brother) failed to prove or disprove the existence of a connection between the two families (Robert didn't believe there was any, in recorded history at least).
Thus, Gérard Michon refrained from appropriating the aforementioned Vougy blazoning pattern, possibly unduly. On May 3, 2013, he assumed the newly created personnal arms described on this page. Registration with the Conseil Français d'Héraldique was granted on December 7, 2013 and later published (2016) under number 2013 / 892.
The Gules and Or tinctures are the heraldic colors of the town (Caen) and region (Normandy) where Michon grew up. They're also the colors of his Alma Matter (Polytechnique) whose traditional nickname ("X") is meant to be represented by the prominent saltire. The gironny blazonnement evokes his birthplace (Gironde). Using Azure instead of Sable as third tincture would have reinforced the heraldic connection with Gironde and would have established one with UCLA (whose colors are Or and Azure). However, the rules of classic heraldry prescribe that Gules and Azure shouldn't touch (besides, it simply looks ugly).
Gérard Philippe François Robert Michon was born in Talence (Gironde) on March 29, 1956.
He's been living in Los Angeles since August 16, 1980.
At age 17, he earned top honors among all the graduating high-school students of the Académie de Caen with a combined score of 287 / 320 (for an average of 17.94 out of 20) earning rare full marks (20/20) in both mathematics and physics, in part for having spotted a misconception in one of the questions in the written exam. He scored "only" 16/20 in philosophy. However, a poor oral performance in German made his score just one point short of the magic threshold of 18/20 which would have earned the rare félicitations du jury distinction (which nobody earned in the district that year). In his senior year, Michon was ranked third in the Nation when he represented his high-school (Lycée Malherbe, Caen) in the 6-hour philosophy competition of the Concours Général des Lycées et Collèges (he also competed in mathematics but didn't perform up to expectations). After graduating from high-school, Michon moved to the secluded top floor of the same building, home of the Taupe Laplace, to prepare for the entrance exams of the major French scientific Grandes Ecoles.
On July 24, 1976, Gérard Michon was admitted into the most prestigious engineering school in France, the Ecole Polytechnique (he ranked 23rd in the national entrance competition). After a year of military service, he started the Polytechnique curriculum in the Fall of 1977. In Mathematics, the legendary Laurent Schwartz (1915-2002) was lecturing on functional analysis. Jean-Louis Basdevant was giving introductory lectures on Quantum Mechanics with the help of about a dozen faculty members who were coaching students in small groups (Michon's coach was Serge Haroche (1944-) who went on to earn the 2012 Nobel prize for physics).
Michon graduated from Polytechnique in 1979, having completed a thesis in Computer Science under the guidance of Jean-Marc Steyaert (X1968) at Polytechnique, Philippe Flajolet (1948-2011; X1968) at INRIA and Jean Vuillemin (X1966) professor at Paris-Sud XI (Orsay) himself formerly a doctoral student of Donald Knuth (1938-) at Stanford. That work was also hosted at Jussieu in the advanced troisième cycle program directed by the normalien Maurice Nivat (1937-) who was simultaneously professor of Computer Science at Polytechnique. Such ad hoc bridges between Polytechnique and parisian universities were growing in popularity at the time. For obscure reasons, the Polytechnique administrators decided to put an abrupt end to them. Nivat made the decision of passer outre by convening an examining committee anyway in 1979 for the two polytechnique students under his direct care (Michon and Jean-Louis Legrand) pledging to award them a DEA degree (the prerequisite for a doctorate, at the time) on the 1980 rolls of Paris VII, as soon as both students would be out of Polytechnique. That probably happened.
Subsequently, Michon obtained two specialized master-level degrees the same year (1981). At the time, Polytechniciens were required by law to obtain at least one of these or face a severe fine corresponding to the actual cost of their education at Polytechnique (which they otherwise received for free, while being paid as junior military officers).
One of those degrees was from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) and the other from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST of Paris, before it was dubbed Télécom ParisTech). Michon had taken advantage of an exchange program that made it possible to graduate from both institutions by replacing the final year at ENST with the completion of an MS program at UCLA. To that end, Michon had obtained hefty scholarship funding from the French Ministère de l'Industrie, for 1980-1981. Matriculating as Gerard Philippe Michon, he completed the UCLA requirements for the MS degree in a single year and went on to obtain a doctorate in 1983, successively under Sheila A. Greibach (1939-) of GNF fame, and Judea Pearl (1936-) father of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl (1963-2002) and sole recipient of the Turing Award (the highest honor in Computer Science) for the year 2011.Some of the doctoral dissertation is available here. It's tersely indexed by Google Books but a full scanned copy (technical report 840029) is available online from the archives of Pearl's Cognitive Systems Laboratory. Crude "typesetting" on daisywheel printers was standard in Academia, back then (just before the introduction of desktop publishing).
On March 19, 2000, the first page of Numericana.com went online as the future home of hundreds (now thousands) of educational scientific snippets by Dr. Michon.
In April 2003, an heraldic component appeared within Numericana, starting with tiny representations (45 by 48 pixels) of the arms of Galileo and Descartes. Thereafter, whenever possible, the Numericana discussions of the results of major scientists were accompanied by freshly minted thumbnails of their arms...
Those quaint little shields were formally collected in a single armorial of scientists which grew fairly rapidly. Thanks to Colonel Guy H. Power (of NASA) this would soon attract the attention of Dr. Clemens Jochen Wilke, a trained German chemist working as a European patent attorney. Wilke is also an heraldic artist who has been donating some of his artwork to lavishly illustrate quite a few entries in Numericana's armorial. The armorial is known far and wide as Escutcheons of Science (EoS).
The 10-th anniversary of Numericana (March 19, 2010) happened to coincide with Wilke's 50-th Birthday. For the occasion, he created the humorous heraldic composition shown above right, based on his earlier creative rendition of Gutenberg's coat-of-arms (including the dramatic drags, inspired by the beggar on Gutenberg's shield). The saltire moltine (akin to the Azure charge in the de Broglie shield) simply stands for the roman numeral "X" of Numericana's tenth year. Wilke's caricature of Michon was used as a crest for the occasion. (Wilke and Michon have corresponded extensively but they've never met or even talked.)
Gérard P. Michon is not directly related to the following contemporary individuals:
- Gérard Michon, mathematician (topologist) at Université de Bourgogne : 1989 | 1994.
- Gérard Michon, French engineer (sales & marketing director at Thales).
- Gerard Michon, Sales Engineer at Dell.
- Gérard Michon, huissier in Bagnolet, France.
Also (?) in real estate (on the board of 3 companies, including GEGELU). Born in 1947.
- Gérard Michon, late founder of a printing company in Neuilly-sur-Marne, France.
- Gérard Michon, (born 1961-06-11). Head of Michon Maçonnerie Terrassement (est. 1989).
- Gérard Michon, Self-employed naval repair technician in Quiberon, since 2009.
- Gérard Michon (1950-2015). Husband of Eliane, father of Pascal and David, brother of Christan and Jean-Louis.
- Gérard Michon, born 1948-12-14, retired from the aeronautical and automotive industries, living in Perthuis (France).
- Gérard Michon (fl. 1950). Soloist of Les petits chanteurs à la croix de bois.
- Gérard Michon (1931-2006). Son of Adelphe Michon & Suzanne Deconbe.
- Gérard Michon, artisan bureautique in Sommedieue (Meuse).
Trivia : According to Namespedia, approximately 28 people are called "Gerard Michon" (there are at least two in the US and 21 in France). The surname "Michon" is borne by approximately 4200 people in at least 21 countries (2400 in France, 800 in the US). Roughly 600 women bear the first name "Michon" (almost exclusively in the United States). It seems that only one of them is called "Michon Michon".
In the News | Palmes académiques | Knight of the National Order of Merit | Michon's Conjecture (c. 1980) | NEHGS | American Heraldry Society (guidelines) | American College of Heraldry (US) | Augustan Society (US) | Other heraldic registries: The Heraldry Society (UK) | US Armorials (e.g., Derwin Mak) | International Register of Arms (UK) | South African Bureau of Heraldry | Conseil Français d'Héraldique