80th Birthday: Jean-Marie Lehn

  • Author: ChemViews Magazine
  • Published Date: 30 September 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
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Chemistry Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn, University of Strasbourg, France, celebrates his 80th birthday on September 30, 2019.

Jean-Marie Lehn was born on September 30, 1939, in Rosheim, France. He studied chemistry at the University of Strasbourg and received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1963 under the supervision of Guy Ourisson. He then performed postdoctoral research with Robert Burns Woodward at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, where he took part in the total synthesis of Vitamin B12. In 1966, Lehn was appointed as maître de conférences (Assistant Professor) at the Chemistry Department of the University of Strasbourg. In 1980, he became Chair of Chemistry of Molecular Interactions at the Collége de France in Paris.

Jean-Marie Lehn is a pioneer of supramolecular chemistry, which—instead of studying the bonds inside one molecule—looks at intermolecular interactions and molecular assemblies. Lehn received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987 together with Donald J. Cram and Charles J. Pedersen for their work on the "development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity". Lehn specifically was honored for his development of cryptands, three-dimensional multidentate ligands.

Besides the Nobel Prize and among many other honors, Lehn has received the Gold Medal of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1981, the Karl Ziegler Prize from the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, German Chemical Society) in 1989, the Davy Medal of the Royal Society and the Lavoisier Medal of the Société Française de Chimie (SCF, French Chemical Society) in 1997, and the Gold Medal "Giulio Natta" from the Società Chimica Italiana (SCI, Italian Chemical Society) in 2003, as well as many honorary doctorates and honorary memberships and fellowships in dozens of learned societies. He was Co-Founder of Chemistry – A European Journal and a Board Member of Angewandte Chemie and serves as Honorary Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board of ChemistryOpen.

Selected Publications

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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH