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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 5 (2007) pp 356-361

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932–2007): The Newton of Our Time

Jean-Pierre Adloff and George B. Kauffman*

Honorary Professor, Université Louis Pasteur, 63 Rue Saint Urbain, Strasbourg, France F-67100, jp.adloff@noos.fr, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, georgek@csufresno.edu

Published online: 1 October 2007

Abstract. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932–2007), who received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physics “for discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers,” died on May 18, 2007 in Orsay, a suburb of Paris at the age of 74. This article describes his life and achievements. He was dubbed “The Isaac Newton of our time" for his genius in reducing a broad range of complex phenomena in such diverse areas as magnetism, superconductors, liquid crystals, and polymers to a few simple laws.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: georgek@csufresno.edu)

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Issue date: October 1, 2007

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