King Salman Hands the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science to KAUST Professor Jean Fréchet

Share Article

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman handed the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry to Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus of KAUST

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman handed the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry to Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus and former senior vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman handed the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry to Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus and former senior vice pres

“It is a special pleasure because I have had so many good years at KAUST and it of course brings back the past – the time when I did the research which is honored by this prize."

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman handed the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry to Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus and former senior vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in a ceremony that took place at AlFaisaliah Tower in Riyadh on Sunday.

The prize recognizes Fréchet’s pioneering work and seminal contributions to chemical science, such as convergent synthesis of dendrimers and their applications, chemically amplified photoresists and organic photovoltaics.
“This is a very special event to me, to be recognized in the Kingdom is something amazing,” said Professor Fréchet.

“It is a special pleasure because I have had so many good years at KAUST and it of course brings back the past – the time when I did the research which is honored by this prize. I am confident that KAUST will prove to be an enormous asset for the Kingdom, rekindling the tradition of scientific excellence within Islamic lands and contributing to economic development and diversification of this great Kingdom,” he added.

The King Faisal Prize, launched by the King Faisal Foundation and granted for the first time in 1979, is a prestigious prize that recognizes the outstanding work of individuals and institutions in five categories: service to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic language and literature, medicine and science. Since the establishment of the King Faisal Prize in 1976, 21 laureates have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes.

During his long and productive career, Fréchet contributed to the broad fields of biotherapeutics, organic electronics, materials, catalysis, surface chemistry and separation science. In addition, he co-founded several start-up ventures and worked with venture capital firms to fund a variety of science-based companies.

One remarkable research breakthrough was Fréchet’s design of a chemically amplified photoresist based on a single photochemical event that is amplified along a polymer chain. This elegant solution drove the revolution in the fabrication of ever-smaller microprocessors and memory chips that are now ubiquitous in all consumer electronics. This was, as Professor George M. Whitesides of Harvard University said, “one of the most important discoveries of modern polymer chemistry and perhaps in modern chemistry period. It is difficult to find a contribution from chemistry that has had more impact on the world as we know it.”

Fréchet also introduced the convergent methodology, which allowed for the synthesis of dendrimers. This approach builds a macromolecule from the outside in, granting unparalleled control over the molecule’s growth, structure and functionality. Fréchet’s dendrimers have been used in myriad applications from catalytic nanoreactors to drug delivery systems. He later developed carrier macromolecules based on his dendrimers that can target specific organs before releasing their medicinal payload.

During his nine years at KAUST, Fréchet sought to understand the needs and potential of Saudi Arabia and aligned KAUST research to address those needs. He was a staunch advocate for developing Saudi youth and empowering female scientists and academic leaders. Although Fréchet retired from KAUST in early January 2019, he remains active in the Kingdom as a member of the advisory board of NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s gigaproject to build a sustainable city of the future.

The award is shared with the American chemist Allen Joseph Bard from the University of Texas, Austin.

Notes to editors:

Photos:

Photos

Faizal 1: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman handed the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry to Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus and former senior vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Faizal 2: Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet, vice president emeritus and former senior vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) receives 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science in the field of Chemistry.

About KAUST

Established in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the world’s most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the areas of food, water, energy and the environment. With 19 research areas related to these themes and state-of-the art labs, KAUST has created a collaborative and interdisciplinary problem- solving environment, which has resulted in over 11,000 published papers to date.

With over 100 different nationalities living, working and studying on campus, KAUST has brought together the best minds and ideas from around the world with the goal of advancing science and technology through distinctive and collaborative research. KAUST is a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia and the world.

For additional information, visit: http://www.kaust.edu.sa

Media Enquiries:

Contact: Alexander Buxton, Senior Advisor – Global Branding & Communications
Email: alexander(dot)buxton(at)kaust(dot)edu(dot)sa
Mob: +966 544701577

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Alexander Buxton
KAUST
+966 544701577
Email >
@KAUST_News
since: 03/2009
Follow >
Visit website