CNRS molecular machine pioneer Jean-Pierre Sauvage receives the 2016 Nobel prize in chemistry

© Catherine Schroder/Unistra
© Catherine Schroder/Unistra

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, a CNRS researcher from 1971 to 2014 and currently professor emeritus at the Université de Strasbourg, has been awarded the 2016 Nobel prize in chemistry, jointly with Sir James Fraser Stoddart (UK), and Bernard L. Feringa (the Netherlands). All three are rewarded for the design and synthesis of "molecular machines". The work of Jean-Pierre Sauvage gives the nanosciences a new dimension with the development of molecular machines capable of reproducing movements of the living world.

Born in Paris on 21 October 1944, Jean-Pierre Sauvage completed his PhD at the Université de Strasbourg under the supervision of Jean-Marie Lehn. Following his postdoc at the University of Oxford (UK), he came back to France and spent his career at the CNRS, which he joined in 1971, and became senior researcher in 1979. Jean-Pierre Sauvage works at the Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg). He was also awarded the CNRS Bronze Medal in 1978 and Silver Medal in 1988.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage is an international pioneer in molecular machines. These devices are assemblies of molecules capable of changing shape while keeping their topology, as well as moving in a controlled fashion under the effect of light, thermal or electrical signals, for example. Jean-Pierre Sauvage and his team succeeded in particular in developing and synthesizing molecular systems reproducing rotation, translation and contraction movements in the same way as a muscular fiber or other important biological processes.

Key dates

  • 1979-2009 CNRS senior researcher
  • 2009-2014 CNRS senior researcher emeritus
  • Since 2009 Professor emeritus at the Université de Strasbourg

Should you wish to researchers with regard to Jean-Pierre Sauvage’s work, please feel free to us at: +33 1 44 96 51 51 / presse [at] cnrs (p) fr