Jean-Pierre Sauvage


Jean-Pierre Sauvage

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Jean-Pierre Sauvage
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

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.

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