Jean-Pierre Sauvage
  • 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


French coordination chemist working at Strasbourg University. He has specialized in supramolecular chemistry. He has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines".

Education and Work Experience

1971-1979, CNRS Research Fellow
1981-1984, Professor at University of Strasbourg 1979-2009, Director of Research at CNRS
2009-Present, Professor Emeritus at University of Strasbourg

Honors and Awards

1997, Member of the French Academy of Sciences 2000, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
2012, Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences 2016, Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Major Academic Achievements

Sauvage's scientific work has focused on creating molecules that mimic the functions of machines by changing their conformation in response to an external signal. His Nobel Prize work was done in 1983, when he was the first to synthesize a catenane, a complex of two interlocking ring-shaped molecules, which were bonded mechanically rather than chemically. Because these two rings can move relative to each other, the Nobel Prize cited this as a vital initial effort towards making molecular machine. The other two recipients of the prize followed up by later creating a rotaxane and a molecular rotor.
Other research includes electrochemical reduction of CO2 and models of the photosynthetic reaction center. A large theme of his work is molecular topology, specifically mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures. He has described syntheses of catenanes and molecular knots based on coordination complexes.