de Gennes, Pierre-Gilles

de Gennes, Pierre-Gilles,

1932–2007, French physicist, Ph.D. Center for Nuclear Studies at Saclay, France, 1958. He was a professor at the Univ. of Paris, Orsay, from 1961 to 1971, when he joined the faculty at the Collège de France. He was named director of the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in 1976 and retired in 2002. Recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physics, de Gennes discovered that methods developed for studying molecular order in simple systems could be generalized to more complex forms of matter such as liquid crystalsliquid crystal,
liquid whose component particles, atoms or molecules, tend to arrange themselves with a degree of order far exceeding that found in ordinary liquids and approaching that of solid crystals.
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 and even polymerspolymer
, chemical compound with high molecular weight consisting of a number of structural units linked together by covalent bonds (see chemical bond). The simple molecules that may become structural units are themselves called monomers; two monomers combine to form a dimer,
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. He made significant contributions to the understanding of liquid crystals and polymers, and wrote standard works on liquid crystals (1974) and polymer dynamics (1990). De Gennes also investigated superconductivity, wetting, and capillarity.
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