Born: 21 October 1944, Paris, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
Prize motivation: "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines"
Prize share: 1/3
Jean-Pierre Sauvage was born in Paris, France. He received his doctoral degree at the Université Louis-Pasteur in Strasbourg in 1971. The future Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn was his advisor. He has worked at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS, and is a professor at the Université de Strasbourg.
We can imagine that the components of the smallest machines could be molecules. For a machine to function, its parts must be able to move relative to each other. In 1983, Jean-Pierre Sauvage managed to achieve this by connecting two ring-shaped molecules into what is called a "catenane". Unlike ordinary chemical bonds, the molecules in catenanes are linked like a chain, where the links can move relative to each other. In the future, molecular machines could be used for new materials, sensors, and energy storage systems.