Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (CNRS gold medallist in 1980, Nobel prize in physics in 1991) has introduced new trends in the laboratory. Initially centred on surface and interface effects in superconductors, he has generated a collective activity that moved from 1968 to the study of structures and properties of liquid crystals. Among the abundance of results obtained during this pioneering time, one can cite the analogy with superconductivity to describe smectic order in liquid crystals and the first synthesis of a ferroelectric liquid crystal. This trend has been today extended towards a vast domain of soft matter, covering complex fluids, surfaces and interfaces physics, polymers and biological objects.