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 crystals and even polymers. 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.