The well-known professor Jean-Marie LEHN, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was the guest of honor at the 2008 edition of the Symposium "Contemporary Chemistry Conferences".
Honorary member of the Romanian Academy since 1993, Mr. Lehn received in 1987 the Nobel Prize together with Donald Cram and Charles Pedersen, for the synthesis of cryptands.
Jean-Marie Lehn completed his higher education at the Faculty of Sciences of University of Strasbourg, where he obtained a B.Sc. in physics in 1960. He was a research intern at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in the laboratory headed by Professor Guy Henry Ourisson and later he became attached in research (1962).
In 1963 he obtained at the University of Strasbourg the science doctorate with a thesis on nuclear magnetic resonance of chemical compounds triterpenes. Professor Lehn received the status of "Maître de Conférences" at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Strasbourg, in 1966.
Between 1980 - 2010 he teached at Collège de France Paris and was the director of the research laboratory on the chemistry of molecular interactions. In 1968, he achieved the synthesis of cage-like molecules, comprising a cavity inside which another molecule could be lodged. Organic chemistry enabled him to engineer cages with the desired shape, thus only allowing a certain type of molecule to lodge itself in the cage. This was the premise for an entire new field in chemistry, sensors. Such mechanisms also play a great role in molecular biology.
The studies brought to him, besides the Nobel Prize, a considerable number of national and international awards: the CNRS gold medal in 1981, the Davy medal awarded by Royal Society in 1997, Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art 1st class in 2001, ISA Medal for Science in 2007; also, mr. Lehn was named Knight of the Ordre National du Mérite (1976), Knight of the Légion d'Honneur (1983) and then Commander of the Légion d'Honneur (1996).
The research of Mr. Lehn led to the definition of a new type of chemistry, "supramolecular chemistry", which instead of studying the bonds inside one molecule, looks at intermolecular attractions, and what would be later called "fragile objects", such as micelles, polymers, or clays.
Starting from molecular recognition, his research expanded encompassing the catalysis and the supramolecular transport processes and also the design of molecular compounds as base for molecular electronics and photonics. Another direction of development is represented by the design of "programmed" systems capable of self-organization by spontaneous assembly of adequate compounds in supramolecular architectures defined appropriately.
In September 2006 he was appointed member of the Haut Conseil de la Science et Technologie set up in France. Also, Mr. Jean-Marie Lehn is a member of the Scientific Committee of the French Association for Scientific Information and of the journal "Science et pseudo-sciences."
Recognized as an early innovator in the field of supramolecular chemistry, Professor Lehn is highly appreciated for his conferences sustained both within the scientific community and in academics, but also within less formal communities.
Always guiding himself upon an open approach to innovation, Professor Jean-Marie Lehn said that "science has nothing to do with any dogma. Science ceases to exist when there is a dogma."