Michel Brunet, born in 1940 in Poitou (France), studied at the Sorbonne and completed a Ph.D. in paleontology in 1966. Since 1989 he has been a professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Poitiers. Brunet's paleontological fieldwork initially focused on the areas of Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the dangerous political developments in both countries, however, he soon began to focus on Africa to search for fossils of hominids (pre-human). In July, 2001, in the Djurab Desert in northern Chad, he discovered the earliest archaeological remains of a pre-human ever found. The site of the discovery of the hominid the researchers called "Toumai" lies roughly 2500 kilometers west of the eastern African Rift Valley, which had previously been regarded as the "cradle of humanity." Brunet's discovery therefore changed the discussion about the range of the pre-humans.
In 2003 Brunet was awarded the Dan David Prize of US$ 1 million for outstanding work in paleontology.
The Einstein Lectures Dahlem lecture series, hosted by Freie Universität Berlin and several external institutions, is dedicated to the epochal work of Albert Einstein. Einstein was director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics for almost two decades. Held in the Berlin district of Dahlem, traditionally a center of scientific research, the Einstein Lectures Dahlem series presents a first-rate, interdisciplinary colloquium once each semester. The lectures address a broad academic public and cover various scientific disciplines influenced by Einstein’s thinking. Previously, Einstein Lectures were held by Hans Frauenfelder, Stephen Hawking, Theodor W. Hänsch, Giacomo Rizzolatti, Günter Dosch jointly with Hans Specht, Martin Kemp, Reinhard Genzel, Paul J. Crutzen, and Johann Deisenhofer.