Jean-Pierre Sauvage, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016, completed his PhD at the Louis-Pasteur University (Strasbourg I) under the supervision of Jean-Marie Lehn, himself a 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate. During his PhD thesis, he developed the first synthesis of cryptand ligands. He was subsequently a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Strasbourg from 1971 to 2014 and currently holds a Chair at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS). His laboratory is based at the Institute of Supramolecular Science and Engineering (ISIS), CNRS / University of Strasbourg.
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 synthesising molecular systems reproducing rotation, translation and contraction movements in the same way as a muscular fibre or other important biological processes.
He was awarded the bronze medal of the CNRS in 1978 and its silver medal in 1988, and is a recipient of many other scientific awards. He was elected corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1990 and full member in 1997 and was made Knight of the French Legion of Honour and Grand Officer of the French National Order of Merit (2016).
In 2016, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside Britain's Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Dutchman Bernard L. Feringa. All three were rewarded for the design and synthesis of "molecular machines". The work of Jean-Pierre Sauvage takes the nanosciences into a new dimension, with the development of these molecular machines that are capable of reproducing movements of the living world.