Université PSL

Who is Pierre-Gilles de Gennes?


Nobel Prize in Physics in 1991 for his work on liquid crystals and polymers, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes left his mark on science. Born in 1932, he was alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes also worked as a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in the 50s. In 1957 he obtained the title of Doctor of Science.

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes became the Director of the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de le Ville de Paris [Graduate School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry] in 1976 and for 25 years. His unflagging desire to convey knowledge and share his discoveries impelled Pierre-Gilles de Gennes to teach throughout his life: at the Faculté des Sciences d’Orsay [Orsay School of the Sciences], in primary schools and colleges after receiving his Nobel prize, and at the Collège de France, where he held the condensed-matter physics chair until 2007, the very year when he passed away at the age of 75.

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes crossed the boundaries of numerous different scientific domains: from fundamental science to industrial applications, including physics, chemistry, or biology. In France, he designed a modern way of doing a more concrete and free research. Worldwide, he had a strong influence on a generation of researchers.

Bearing his name, the Institut Pierre-Gilles de Gennes expresses the state of mind in which it will develop its actions.

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