Pierre Gilles de Gennes Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Physicist

Pierre Gilles de Gennes

Birthday :

October 24, 1932

Died On :

May 18, 2007

Birth Place :

Paris, France

Zodiac Sign :

Scorpio


Early Life And Education

Pierre Gilles de Gennes was born 24th October 1932, to Robert Pierre de Gennes, and Martha Morin-Pons. He was born in Paris, France. His father was a doctor, his mother, a nurse.

Pierre Gilles de Gennes was schooled at home until he was 12 years old. He then went on to study at the Ecole Normale Superieure, from which he graduated in 1955. Pierre Gilles de Gennes then began work as a research engineer at the Atomic Research Centre, which was located in Paris. He received his doctorate two years later. His area of expertise was that of magnetism and neutron scattering.

Career

Pierre Gilles de Gennes traveled to the United States in 1959 to do post-doctoral research at the University of California. He then returned to France, and worked in the French Army for just over two years.

Pierre Gilles de Gennes spent most of his career in academia. In 1961, Pierre Gilles de Gennes took up the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Paris-Sud, on the Orsay campus. He studied super-conductors for several years, and he changed to the study of liquid crystals in 1968.

In 1971, Pierre Gilles de Gennes moved to the College de France, taking up an appointment as a Professor.  He became part of a joint research group called STRASACOL, studying polymer physics. Pierre Gilles de Gennes stayed with the college for five years.

Pierre Gilles de Gennes then went to the Ecole Superieure Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in 1976, where he had been offered the position of Director. He remained in the position for over 26 years.

He studied the order phenomena in liquid crystals and polymers, and his research was recognized with a Nobel Price in 1991.

Awards And Honors

Pierre Gilles de Gennes won many notable awards during his career, some of which include:

1990:   Lorentz Medal

1991:   Nobel Prize in Physics

1998:   Eringen Medal

Personal

Pierre Gilles de Gennes married Anne Marie Elisabeth Eugenie Rouet in 1954. They had three children together and remained together until Pierre Gilles de Gennes’ death.

Legacy

The Royal Society of Chemistry has an award that is given biennially, called the De Gennes Prize. The award is to honor Pierre Gilles de Gennes.


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