Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

Pierre -Gilles de Gennes ( born October 24, 1932 in Paris, † 18 May, 2007 Orsay ) was a French physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1991.


Pierre -Gilles de Gennes graduated in 1955 at the École Normale Supérieure. Subsequently, he was until 1959 a research engineer at the Center for Atomic Energy ( Saclay ) ( CEA2 ), where he worked primarily with neutron scattering and magnetism. In 1957 he received his doctorate. In 1959, a research stay in the solid state physicist Charles Kittel at the University of California, Berkeley.

After a 27 -month military service in the French Navy In 1961 he was assistant professor in Orsay. There he dealt first with superconductivity. Around 1968 he moved to the field of liquid crystals. In 1971 he became a professor at the Collège de France.


De Gennes has received numerous awards for his work on liquid crystals and polymer physics. De Gennes was a member of the French Academy of Sciences ( " Academy of Sciences " ) and honorary professor at the Collège de France.

1977 de Gennes was awarded the Prix Ampere, in 1983 with the Gay - Lussac- Humboldt Prize, 1988 with the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry. In 1990 he got the Lorentz Medal, and in 1991 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics " for his discovery that methods for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular for liquid crystals and polymers". A lasting contribution is the formulation of scaling laws for complex systems such as polymer solutions or melts, on the basis of the standard in engineering dimensional analysis.

He turned now increasingly questions of polymer physics. More recently, were added in particular interfacial phenomena and the dynamics of granular matter as new centers of interest.


  • P. G. de Gennes, F. Brochard - Wyart, D. Quéré: Wetting Phenomena and capillarity: Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves. Springer, 2003, ISBN 0-387-00592-7
  • P. G. de Gennes, J. Prost: The Physics of Liquid Crystals. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1993, ISBN 0-19-852024-7
  • P. G. de Gennes: Simple Views on Condensed Matter. World Scientific Publishing Co, 1998, ISBN 981-238-282-8
  • P. G. de Gennes: Scaling concepts in polymer physics. Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1979, ISBN 0-8014-1203- X
  • P. G. de Gennes: Superconductivity of Metals and Alloys. W. A. Benjamin, 1964, ISBN 0-7382-0101-4
  • Armand Ajdari: Pierre -Gilles de Gennes (1932 - 2007). Obituary in: Science, vol 317 of 27 July 2007, p 466 (in English)