We created this program for those of you who would like to catch up with modern science and can spare part of your vacation for this purpose.

The current decade is sometimes called the Decade of Science, but science keeps eluding us. For instance, we've all heard about the Higgs boson, but how many of us actually know what it is? We know that the human genome has been deciphered. But why is it important and what good is it to us? It's common knowledge that some of our food is genetically modified. But do we understand whether that's dangerous? And if so, to what extent?

Many of us keep meaning to figure these things out, but always lack the time. There's work to do and errands to run, and when it's vacation time—well, vacations are made for relaxing. However, who said that you can't learn about the things you've always wanted to know and have a great holiday at the same time?

We are here to offer a solution! We propose you to join one or several of our 3-to-5-day crash courses on the hottest scientific subjects, conducted by leading experts and taking place in one of the most charming places in Europe .

Our lecturers and speakers are leading experts from the world's major scientific centers. Our program participants are people of different professional backgrounds, mostly employees of major non-profit organizations, international corporations and even governmental institutions.

We choose the most interesting spots in Europe for our scientific vacation courses, and we make sure that the schedule leaves you plenty of time for activities and guided tours to local attractions.

How does it work?

First, we invite the best experts to develop 3-to-5 day crash courses on various scientific subjects.

Then we announce a course and register people who are interested. Finally, we book a fine hotel somewhere in Europe and make it all happen.

  • The Secret of Scent

    Luca Turin & Victoria Frolova
    Luberon, France
    Scheduled for
    20th-24th October 2016

    Drawing on his long-standing experience in biophysics, quantum biology, molecular biology and fragrance chemistry Luca Turin will explain you what is known and — just as importantly— what hasn't been known yet about smell.

    Fragrance expert and journalist Victoria Frolova will explain the principles of fragrance construction and history. Her professional training gave her a glimpse inside the secret and competitive world of the perfume industry, and in turn, she will share her experience with you. You will learn about the perfumer’s palette, smell rare vintage fragrances and learn exercises to sharpen your sense of smell.

    You will find out what clues olfaction may be giving us about the mode of action of drugs and receptors in general. All these concepts will be put into the context of the two parallel worlds, fragrance and science, each with its own culture and quirks.

    Luca Turin was born in 1953 in Beirut, Lebanon, to Italian-Argentinian parents. His father is a UN diplomat and his mother is a designer. Brought up in France, Italy and Switzerland he got his French Baccalaureat in 1970. Then he pursued his studies in Physiology and Biophysics at University College London and got PhD in 1978. In 1982 he started working at the CNRS and after 10 years of successful career he became a lecturer at UCL where he taught Biophysics until 2000.

    Luca has long had an interest in areas of pharmacology that didn’t appear to follow the standard rules of structure-activity and molecular recognition. He is best known for his work on olfaction, in which he proposed a novel mechanism for odorant recognition by receptors. This mechanism, inelastic electron tunneling, is one of the three instances in biophysics where an explicitly quantum explanation is required to account for experimental facts.

    For 8 years Luca Turin was CTO of a venture company designing odorants for fragrance and flavors with a success rate 100 times the industry average. After returning to full time research in 2009, in collaboration with Dr. Skoulakis he has shown that both flies and humans could detect molecular vibrations by smell.

    In 1992 Luca wrote his first perfume guide. The second edition was made in collaboration with Tania Sanchez in 2008.

    Starting from 2011 until recently he worked as visiting scientist and professor at MIT, at the Alexander Fleming Institute in Athens and at the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Ulm. Today he is the perfume critic of Style Arabia. He is married to Tania Sanchez and has three children, two from a previous marriage.

    Turin is the author of The Secret of Scent (2006), published by Faber & Faber in the UK and in the US by HarperCollins and is the subject of Chandler Burr's 2003 book The Emperor of Scent.

    Here you can see his lectures from TED talk and The University of Alaska


    Victoria Frolova is a journalist and fragrance specialist. After pursuing her graduate degree in political science at Yale University and later at Duke, she stepped into the labs of International Flavors & Fragrances and received an opportunity to learn the intricate art of perfumery at the source. Inspired by her mentor, Sophia Grojsman, the creator of legends like Yves Saint Laurent Paris and Calvin Klein Eternity, she studied fragrance chemistry, history and composition.

    Frolova’s writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, Red Magazine, Marie Claire, and Flair. She’s a longstanding contributing writer to Perfumer &Flavorist and The Financial Times “How to Spend It” Magazine. Her explorations of scent touch upon all elements that make this subject rich and complex—science, art, literature, history, and culture.

    The editor of boisdejasmin.com, a website devoted to sensory pursuits, Frolova is a recipient of three Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards for Editorial Excellence and is a member of SociétéFrançaise des Parfumeurs (French Society of Perfumers). She lives in Brussels and conducts scent seminars around the world.

    The three day Science & Vacation program devoted to fragrance will teach you about the anatomy and physiology of the sense of smell, perfume history, and the culture of scent. You will have a rare chance to smell legendary perfumes in their original formulations, explore materials used by fragrance industry professionals and discover why your nose is more sensitive than the most sophisticated machine.

    October 21 st , 2016: How We Smell

    The participants will learn about the anatomy and physiology of olfaction and will master the language of fragrance as they draw on their personal experiences. They will also perform exercises to sharpen their sense of smell.

    October 22nd, 2016: Smells and Messages

    Painters express their vision with colors, but for perfumers, ideas acquire meaning with aromatics. Nowadays the multi-million dollar industry, supported by research and development in aroma-materials, creates hundreds of new scents each year. Over the course of the next module the participants will learn how something as shapeless as smell acquired such an impressive history and culture. They will find out how professionals transform ideas and visions into scents and smell some of the greatest examples of the perfumers’ art, including legendary fragrances in their original formulations. Participants will also discover a connection between smell and taste via wine tasting.

    October 23rd, 2016: Olfaction, Hearing, Vision and the Art of Perfumery

    What do olfaction, hearing and vision have in common? The participants will find out what processing happens in the brain as their senses are stimulated and acquire some understanding of how the brain processes information coming from the sense organs. Similarities and differences between visual, auditory and olfactory perception will be described and discussed. They will also learn the basics of fragrance composition and will get a glimpse into the métier of a perfumer by creating a fragrance accord. They will use classical materials from the South of France to compose their personal olfactory etude.

    Vibrational theory of smell vs. shape theory of smell
    The vibration theory affirms that the smell of substances is based upon the frequencies of vibration of their molecules. This is in opposition to the shape theory of smell, which imagines smelly molecules fitting into conveniently shaped receptors in our noses.
    History of Perfume
    Nowadays the multi-million dollar industry of fragrance creates hundreds of new scent each year. How did something as shapeless as smell get such an impressive history and culture?

    - What a particular molecule will smell like?

    - How our nose is connected to our brain?

    - Why Does Perfume Smell Differently on Different People?

    - How do we choose which perfumes to review?

    The course will take place in a splendid hotel in one of the mountain villages of the Luberon region, in Provence. There is a choice of twin or king rooms with air conditioning, LCD TV and other convenient amenities.

    In the course of our 3-day program, lectures will begin daily at 9 a.m and last for about 1h 45 min. Following a coffee break, you will have the second lectures and at the second half of the day you will have opportunity to engage in a one-hour discussion with the lecturers.

    In your abundant free time, will be at liberty to explore numerous local attractions and cultural monuments.

    Total Cost :

    2600€ per person, per single accommodation in a double room.

    4400€ per two persons (accommodation in a shared double room).

    This cost includes accommodation breakfast, wine testing and courses.

  • The Past and Future of

    Guelia Pevzner
    Chantilly, France
    Scheduled for
    6th-10th October 2016

    Over the course of a long weekend in October, we are presenting a series of lectures and discussions on the subject of food and its future. We also plan to indulge in sampling a variety of regional French cuisines.

    This course will be entirely led by Guelia Pevzner - journalist, restaurant critic, scientist, one of the world's leading experts in regional French cuisine.

    This course will be held in the picturesque town of Chantilly “City of Art and History” (a prestigious French label) with one of the most majestic French royal chateaux. Chantilly is also a centre of gastronomy and birthplace of… Chantilly cream! Guelia will guide us through both its famous restaurants and the wonderfully diverse world of French cuisine. As she does this, she will fill us in on what modern science thinks about French food and why it's considered to be so special.

    Guelia Pevzner is a member of the Association Professionnelle des Chroniqueurs et Informateurs de la Gastronomie et du Vin, Association des Journalistes du Tourisme, Association des Journalistes du Patrimoine; ex-Deputy Director of ELLE Magazine International Editions; Discussion Moderator on behalf of Institut de France at Expo 2015 in Milan which was dedicated to the future of food in world culture.

    She has spent many years studying the science of food. Guelia is among the leading contemporary experts on regional French cuisine and a frequent guest at international scientific conferences on the role of food in our past, present and future. She also moderated Institute de France's conference on the future of food at Expo-2015 in Milan .

    Here you can watch two Guelia's interviews from Milano Expo 2015 with French food scientists Christian Huyghe and Jean-Michel Lecerf.

    - Who owns the right to save and share seeds?*

    - Are there "good" foods and "bad" foods?*

    You can also listen to her reportages made for RFI France and read her atricles in Huffington Post and in Alimentation Générale.*

    *Watch out! The links are in french! Though, in Chantilly the courses will be conducted entirely in English.

    Q: Guelia, please tell us how you came to be interested in food science.

    A: The story begins in LA. I lived there and met Pierre Sauvaget a wonderful chef who trained with Joel Robuchon, a former chef from Café de la Paix of Paris, who moved to Los Angeles and spent 22 years running a French restaurant in Belair Bay Club. We would later become really good friends, but back then I was just lucky to become his apprentice. His team was amazing, and I got to meet Gordon Ramsay when he came to film something at the club. Everything was wonderful, but I realized that I didn't want to become a chef. It's just not my cup of tea. At that same time I was doing a photography project about new American farmers, and I found people who grow food as exciting as those who cook it. They are the source; they are where it all begins. So my initial interest was about the source of food, and then about the method of production, and that naturally led me to science. Whenever you have a question about how this or that product is made, the path to the answer requires dealing with all sorts of different matters: dilemmas, scandals, economic and political aspects of production, and so on. This includes viewing things from a scientific angle.

    Show more...

    In the course of our 3-day program, lectures will begin daily at 9 a.m and last for about 1h 45 min. Following a coffee break, you will have the opportunity to engage in a one-hour discussion with the lecturer.

    Each day you will have the oppotunity to sample French cuisine in the renowned restaurants of Chantilly and Paris. Guelia will accompany you to tell you more about the restaurants and the meals you eat.

    On Friday you will dine in the hotel’s «bistronomic» restaurant, Donatello. Every evening, in a friendly and warm atmosphere, the Chef, David Archinard, offers authentic and scrumptious à la carte dishes adapted to seasonal market produce.

    Saturday, we'll have lunch in the gourmet restaurant, La Table du Connétable. The restaurant, which received two stars from the Michelin guide, will offer you a seasonal menu by Arnaud Faye.

    Finally, on Sunday, we'll finish our program in one of the historic restaurants of Paris.

    In your abundant free time, will be at liberty to explore numerous local attractions and cultural monuments.

    The History of Food
    Human beings and their food preferences from ancient times to modern days.

    Future Diets
    Are we still going to drink milk and eat fish in the days to come? What about bugs and bacteria, will we find them on our plates?

    Healthy and Unhealthy Products
    Are GMO foods really that bad? Are organic products really that good? Is fish healthier to eat when it comes from a fish farm or straight from the sea? What does it mean if the label says 'no additives or preservatives' and is this actually better?

    The Secret of French Cuisine
    What is the French Paradox? Why do the French never suffer from heart disease?

    You will also be able to discuss the most controversial food issues of 21st century with your peers and the lecturer.

    Here are some possible discussion topics

    - Food scandals and catastrophes: can they be avoided?

    - Can we still prevent world hunger if we switch to organic only?

    - Why do we need the "Doomsday Seed Vault"?

    The participants will stay at the 4-star Dolce Chantilly hotel in the very heart of the historic Chantilly Forest. There is a choice of twin or king rooms with air conditioning, LCD TV and other convenient amenities.

    The hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool, a sauna and a hammam, and also a fitness center. The nearby Chantilly Forest is good for nature walks. Besides, it is a 30-minute walk to Chantilly Castle—a gem in the crown of France's cultural heritage. The castle still houses some of the treasures of Henri d’Orléans, the Duke of Aumale.

    The course location is an easy 25-minute drive from Paris airports including Charles de Gaulle. You can rent a car; transfer can also be provided for 70€ per person.

    Total Cost:

    1900€ per person, per single accomodation in a double room.

    3200€ per two persons (accomodation in ashared double room).

    This cost includes accommodation, courses, breakfast and three restaurant meals.

  • Сomputational genomics
    and medicine

    Manolis Kellis
    to be determined
    Scheduled for
    to be determined
    Thanks to this course you will be able to further your understanding of the human genome by computational integration of large-scale functional and comparative genomics datasets. The lecturer is Manolis Kellis, the professor of Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    Manolis Kellis is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at MIT, a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he directs the MIT Computational Biology Group (compbio.mit.edu). He obtained his Ph.D. from MIT, where he received the Sprowls award for the best doctoral thesis in computer science, and the first Paris Kanellakis graduate fellowship.

    His group has recently been funded to lead the integrative analysis efforts of the modENCODE project for Drosophila melanogaster, and also for integrative analysis of the NIH Epigenome Roadmap Project.

    Manolis Kellis has recieved a number of honours and awards for his achievements in Computer Science such as the US Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) for his NIH R01 work in Computational Genomics, the NSF CAREER award, and the Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award in EECS.

    Moreover, he was recognized for his research in genomics as one of the top young innovators under the age of 35 by Technology Review Magazine, one of the principal investigators of the future by Genome Technology magazine, and one of three young scientists representing the next generation in biotechnology by the Boston Museum of Science.

    Prior to computational biology, he worked on artificial intelligence, sketch and image recognition, robotics, and computational geometry, at MIT and at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.


    During this course you are going to find out:

    · Why computational mathematics is essential for modern genetics.

    · How a revolution in genomics is unlocking treatments that could transform medicine as we know it.

    · What comparative genomics is and how it helps us recognize evolutionary signatures of protein-coding genes and why we need it.

    · Finally, what personal genomics is and how we can use it in predictive and precision medicine.

    If you are interested in attendance at this session, please fill in the application form. We shall contact you once the exact dates of the conference are determined.
  • Behaviour and physiology
    of Marine life

    William Gilly
    to be determined
    Scheduled for
    to be determined
    The aim of this session is to deepen your knowledge of marine life that inhabits our oceans. The course will be conducted by William Gilly, the head of Gilly Lab at Stanford University and Henk-Jan Hoving, Postdoctoral Fellow at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research.

    William Gilly was trained in molecular physiology and biophysics and has contributed to our basic understanding of electrical excitability in nerve and muscle cells. However, his later research has focused on biological and environmental topics. Gilly's current research program on squid concentrates on the behaviour and physiology of Dosidicus gigas, the jumbo or Humboldt squid. Fieldwork in the Gulf of California and off Monterey Bay employs a variety of tagging methodologies in order to track short-term vertical migrations as well as long-distance migrations.

    Henk-Jan Hoving is Postdoctoral Fellow at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research. A few years ago, he worked in Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) where, together with William Gilly, he studied ocean life in Gulf of California.


    During this course you will discover:

    · How marine life reacts to global climate change.

    · How the neurophysiology of squid, newt and cone snail is organised and why it is so important to have an understanding of it.

    · What electrical excitability is in nerve and muscle cells and how it is studied in a variety of organisms ranging from brittle-stars to mammals.

    · How extreme plasticity in life-history strategy allows a jumbo squid to cope with a changing climate.

    · What a vampire squid is, given that it is in fact neither a vampire nor a squid, and what the reason is behind the scientists' interest in it?

    If you're interested in attendance at this session, please fill out the application form. We shall contact you once the exact dates of the conference are determined.
About us

We are Sergey and Katya, founders of S&V. We are originally from Moscow and are now based in Paris.

We believe that learning and vacations can get along pretty well! In 2014 we founded the Marabou Smart Camp for children from Central and Western Europe. During a 2 week-long camp, kids from age 9 to age 14 learn new things in a very interactive way, working with highly-trained counselors and lecturers. The project has turned out to be extremely successful. That’s why we decided to go further and create a similar program for adults. Now both kids and adults can expand their understanding of various scientific subjects and have a great holiday in a beautiful city in Europe.

Sergey Kuznetsov

Sergey Kuznetsov is a well-known writer and journalist. He is the author of nine novels including «Butterfly Skin» and «The Circle Dance of Water». His opinion pieces have been published by The New York Times, Huffington Post and other venues. He was a Stanford Knight Fellow in 2001-2002. In 2004 Sergey founded the SKCG agency specializing in digital marketing and educational projects. Today SKCG’s branch offices are located in Russia, Ukraine, France and the US.

Katya Kadieva

Katya Kadieva is a psychologist, journalist and cross-cultural communication specialist. She is a member of The European Association for Psychotherapy. Katya is also the author of many articles on childhood and education issues.

We connect like-minded people

Few things are worse than spending your vacation with boring companions. If you choose to go on holiday with us, you will find yourself among companions who are as inquisitive as you are.

We know how to really nourish your mind

With our lecturers you will never be left lacking answers or hungry for information. You will hear well-argued responses to the most challenging of your questions. You will also take part in thought-provoking discussions to further explore the chosen subject.

Sergey Kuznetsov tells about how he came up with the idea of Science & Vacation Program:

I graduated from Moscow State University. It used to be one of the best educational establishments in the entire country. My grades were good; I had a genuine interest for everything we were taught, which was mainly chemistry, but also lots of physics and mathematics. Yet throughout my student years I couldn't get rid of this slight but nagging feeling that something was amiss. It wasn't how I had imagined one's student years. I kept craving for something to make my search for knowledge exciting, to stimulate me, but it was mostly just routine devoid of passion and energy.

I gave up science and became a journalist, and lots of water passed under the bridge. In my early thirties I was awarded the Knight Journalism Fellowship and got to spend a year at Standford University. Stanford gave its fellows access to everything they possibly needed to study, explore and experiment. We could attend any lectures and seminars; we could use the university’s libraries and ask its Professors for advice.

That was exactly what I was lacking back in my Moscow student years. Of course, we also worked with all sorts of information back then. But Stanford was where I saw how new information could actually change me and affect my life. I found myself in an international multicultural environment, surrounded by people who were as mature, smart and inquisitive as I was. Our communication was unobstructed by competition or by the need to take sides which often occurs during group work. This was unexpected and important. It allowed us to form unique connections, ones that allow people to exchange experiences for sheer mutual benefit and fun. It's been fifteen years, and I still keep in touch with the friends I made there. We all agree about that year we shared in Stanford that it had changed both our minds and our lives.

In fact, that year changed the life of my entire family. My wife and I came to realise that communication is the most important thing that happens between people. We all have a deep need to share experiences and create new things together, and it’s important to handle this need thoughtfully. So over the next ten years we arranged multiple events and held small conferences on different subjects, exploring methods of passing information and getting people to interact in a way that would be useful and memorable.

A few years ago we moved to Paris and discovered that people here are very much interested in science even if it’s not connected directly to the field they work in. They try to keep up with the latest news in biology, genetics, physics and other things they find interesting, but nobody really has the time to look into these subjects in depth because there are other urgent things to pursue in life and business. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that science is back in the spotlight like it was in the fifties. Everybody is curious about what’s going on.

Unfortunately, no amount of TED lectures or MOOCs can fully help you catch up: very few of us are capable of sitting through several hours of video lectures and texts driven by nothing but sheer curiosity. Studying works much better in groups. That's the thought that brought us to remember that year back in Stanford. It was exactly the break everybody seems to lack: a fun and mind-nourishing time with companions who are on the same wavelength. So we came up with the idea of S&V, a program for people just like us: successful, energetic, inquisitive, but always too busy to learn a new subject thoroughly. We really want to make it possible for others to experience the excitement of discovery through learning; something many of us don’t even believe is achievable anymore since adulthood lacks the brand new eyes of studenthood.

We decided that our first two programs should be about simple topics that are equally meaningful for everybody, like food and smell. Our Science of Food and Vibration Theory of Olfaction courses will both start in October. We are also currently negotiating with several professors from major world universities and hope to surprise you with amazing new courses next year.

The Local
"This October, expats from across the globe will be flocking to France for a unique vacation aimed at giving guests more than a tan and a new selfie collection.
Rather than dissecting frogs and memorizing the periodic table of elements, guests who sign up for the event will spend their days eating their way through Gallic gastronomy while learning about the future of food."

Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France

"The Science & Vacation program was created as a solution to optimize your time and your abilities by fusing two activities: learning and vacation."

Science and Vacation Program
International Expats Club

"Science & Vacation has created a new concept that mixes vacation trips and science discussions with the most famous scientists. A new way to combine holiday and knowledge in wonderful locations all over the world."

New Science & Vacation - a concept for people curios about science
In case you are two or more, PLEASE FILL IN ONE FORM PER PERSON.