He studied at the École Supérieure de has Chimie Industrielle de Lyon ( CPE Lyon today ) and graduated there in 1954 obtained his degree Yves Chauvin. He has spent at the Institut Français du Petrole (IFP ) Rueil -Malmaison near Paris for most of his academic life. The mid-1990s he retired and is now Directeur de Recherche Honoraire ( Research Director honorary ). Since 1996 he is a member of the Académie des sciences.
Little is known about Chauvins life, the scientist leads a reclusive life in Tours. He was married, his wife died in 2004.
Chauvin first time in 1970 described in detail the olefin metathesis, in which olefins ( alkenes) are synthesized from simple hydrocarbon compounds. Only in 1990, succeeded Richard R. Schrock a catalyst for this process to develop. After Robert Grubbs developed the air-stable Grubbs catalyst, two years later, it is now used in the chemical industry.
In December 2005, Chauvin received for these findings together with Schrock and Grubbs the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
In a first reaction Chauvin described the award of the Nobel Prize to him as " extremely embarrassing " and announced that they wanted to stay away from the awards ceremony on December 10, 2005 in Stockholm. Later, however, he attended the ceremony anyway and previously held on 8 December 2005 his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Stockholm University.
- A. Martinato, Y. Chauvin and G. Lefebvre: Kinetic aspects of the "period of adjustment " during polymerization ( of propylene ) with titanium trichloride - triethylaluminum. In: Compt. Rend. Volume 258, No. 17, 1964, p 4271-4273.
- M. Uchino, Y. Chauvin and G. Lefebvre: Dimerization of propylene by nickel complexes. In: Compt. Rend. C. Volume 265, No. 2, 1967, pp. 103-106.
- JL Herisson and Y. Chauvin: Catalysis of olefin transformations by tungsten complexes. II Telomerization of cyclic olefin in the presence of acyclic olefin. In: The Macromolecular Chemistry. Volume 141, 1971, pp. 161-176. (This article is occasionally quoted in 1970 as the year of publication due to a typographical error in the original publication. )
- Y. Chauvin, B. Gilbert and I. Guibard: Catalytic dimerization of alkenes by nickel complexes in molten salts organochloroaluminate. In: Chem Comm. Volume 23, 1990, pp. 1715-1716.
- L. Magna, G. P. Niccolai, Y. Chauvin and J.-M. Basset: The importance of imidazolium substituents into the use of imidazolium based room temperature ionic liquids as palladium- catalyzed telomerization of Solvents for butadiene with methanol. In: Organometallics. Volume 22, No. 22, 2003, pp. 4418-4425.