Welcome to The Diffracted Word.
My name is Gwenaëlle Lefeuvre and I am a physicist. I used to work in academic research and I transitioned into industrial and commercial physics. I set up a business unit in an SME to bring a new type of sensor to market, and I now focus on scientific business development.
The short story? I love hardware tech and I love working in and with SMEs.
The longer story? This website is born from a few observations:
All around us, “tech” has come to mean the way our lives become more and more virtual. Shopping, banking, planning, dieting, investing, meeting, can all be done online. IoT, AI and metaverse are rapidly evolving from new, trendy terms to everyday ones.
In my opinion, the really fascinating (r)evolution of our age, though, is that of the hardware that makes it all possible. The materials engineered to be “intelligent”. The sensors tracking the correct functioning of our bodies and our factories. The fundamental phenomena being discovered every passing year, that we will soon exploit for yet-unforeseen applications.
It is an illusion that our world is becoming more virtual. Without very physical progress, such possibilities would not exist.
This hardware is not consciously swept under the carpet. Every novelty is announced and celebrated among specialist professionals. However, they tend to take a long time to reach the general public. But in a world where playing LEGOTM is encouraged from a young age, I believe that many adults would enjoy learning about the pieces that shape our lifestyle and orient its evolution.
Now, this technical progress often feels as if it is spearheaded by large, multinational companies. This can be true, but it is by no means the rule. Despite their size and fame, large companies are a minority. They operate in an ecosystem along with SMEs.
To me, SMEs are the true engines of technical progress.
I love working in and with SMEs. They are shaped by a playful curiosity, a sense of adventure and a positive yet stubborn mindset. They have the flexibility and the focus to bring brilliant ideas to fruition (and to market). On the one hand, national and European incentivization programmes have created a dynamic entrepreneurial environment. On the other hand, I often witnessed how the best collaborations often start serendipitously. But the most productive or extraordinary ones rarely occur between actors of the same field.
And so by building this SME register my humble hope is double. I want to showcase European scientific SMEs. And by avoiding too narrow a focus, I want to create a tool to help them find each other. After all, whichever form a collaboration takes, is always first and foremost, a collaboration between people.