In the summers of 2000 and 2001, we organized two European Summer Schools in Geometric Mechanics. They were both held in the wonderful environment provided by the village-cum-international conference centre at Peyresq in the Alpes de Haute Provence in France, about 100km North of Nice. Each school consisted of 6 short lecture courses, as well as numerous short talks given by participants, of whom there were about 40 at each school. The majority of participants were from Europe with a few coming from West of the Atlantic or East of the Urals, and we were pleased to see a number of participants from the first year returning in the second. Several of the courses and short talks led to collaborations between participants and/or lecturers.
The summer schools were funded principally by the European Commission under the High-Level Scientific Conferences section of the Fifth Framework Programme. Additional funding was very kindly provided by the Fondation Peiresc. The principal aim of the two schools was to provide young scientists with a quick introduction to the geometry and dynamics involved in geometric mechanics and to bring them to a level of understanding where they could begin work on research problems. The schools were also closely linked to the Mechanics and Symmetry in Europe (MASIE) research training network, organized by Mark Roberts, and several of the participants went on to become successful PhD students or postdocs in MASIE.