Jean-Pierre Sauvage

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Jean-Pierre Sauvage
Catenane ChemComm 244 1985.png
Crystal structure of a catenane reported by Sauvage and coworkers in the Chem. Commun., 1985, 244-247.
Born (1944-10-21) 21 October 1944 (age 72)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Fields coordination chemistry, supramolecular chemistry
Institutions Strasbourg University
Notable awards
Crystal structure of a molecular trefoil knot with two copper(I) templating ions bound within it reported by Sauvage and coworkers in Recl. Trav. Chim. Pay. B., 1993, 427-428.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage (French pronunciation: ​[ʒanpjɛʁ sovaʒ]; born 21 October 1944) is a French coordination chemist working at Strasbourg University. He has specialized in supramolecular chemistry for which he has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa.


Sauvage was born in Paris in 1944,[1] and earned his PhD from the Université Louis-Pasteur under the supervision of Jean-Marie Lehn, himself a 1987 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. During his PhD work, he contributed to the first syntheses of the cryptand ligands.[2] After postdoctoral research with Malcolm L. H. Green, he returned to Strasbourg, where he is now emeritus professor.

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.[3]

His Nobel Prize work was done in 1983, when he was the first to synthesized 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.[4][5]

Other research includes electrochemical reduction of CO2 and models of the photosynthetic reaction center.[6]

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.[7]

He was elected a correspondent member of the French Academy of Sciences on 26 March 1990, and became a member on 24 November 1997. He is currently emeritus professor at the University of Strasbourg (Unistra).[citation needed]

He shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines" with Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa.[8][9][4][10]


  1. ^ "Jean-Pierre Sauvage - Facts". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Dietrich, B.; Lehn, J. M.; Sauvage, J.P. (1969). "Les Cryptates". Tetrahedron Letters. 10 (34): 2889–92. doi:10.1016/S0040-4039(01)88300-3. 
  3. ^ "Jean-Pierre Sauvage, University of Strasbourg, Nobel laureate for chemistry". League of European Research Universities. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry - Press Release". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Van Noorden, Richard; Castelvecchi, Davide (5 October 2016). "World's tiniest machines win chemistry Nobel". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20734. 
  6. ^ Collin, J.P.; Sauvage, J.-P. (1989). "Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide mediated by molecular catalysts". Coord. Chem. Rev. 93: 245–68. doi:10.1016/0010-8545(89)80018-9. 
  7. ^ Dietrich-Buchecker, C.; Jimenez-Molero, M.C.; Sartor, V.; Sauvage, J.-P. (2003). "Rotaxanes and catenanes as prototypes of molecular machines and motors". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 75: 1383–93. doi:10.1351/pac200375101383. 
  8. ^ Staff (5 October 2016). "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Chang, Kenneth; Chan, Sewell (5 October 2016). "3 Makers of 'World's Smallest Machines' Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  10. ^ Davis, Nicola; Sample, Ian (5 October 2016). "live". theguardian. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 

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