Professor Jean M. J. Fréchet, UC Berkeley professor emeritus and Allen Bard, Professor of Chemistry at UT Austin have been named co-Laureates of the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science. The award, announced on January 13, cites Fréchet's pioneering work and seminal contributions in the areas of convergent synthesis of dendrimers and their applications, chemically amplified photoresists and organic photovoltaics. A ceremony honoring the Laureates will be held in March.
Fréchet was born in Burgundy, France in 1944. He obtained a BSc. in Chemical Engineering from Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles, Lyon, France in 1967, and his MS and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Syracuse University in 1969 and 1971, respectively. After professorships at the University of Ottawa and Cornell University, he joined the University of California at Berkeley in 1996 holding several academic positions including Scientific Director of the Molecular Foundry of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He was named Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in 2011. Fréchet joined King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in 2010 to become KAUST vice president for research. In 2017, Fréchet was promoted to the position of KAUST senior vice president for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. He retired in early 2019.
Fréchet is recognized for the invention (co-developed with Grant Willson) of chemically amplified photoresists, opening a new era in the fabrication and miniaturization of microelectronic devices. Nearly all of the world’s microelectronic devices that have been made in the last two decades are based on this invention. His work on dendrimers has been used to explore a host of applications including the delivery of therapeutic materials. Similarly, his work done on macroporous polymers led to their quick commercialization for use in chemical and biological separations. He later developed innovative polymeric carriers for both drugs and vaccines as well as explored the fundamental design of electroactive polymers used today for organic field-effect transistors and solar cells.
A chemist and chemical engineer by training, Fréchet is the author of over 900 research publications with over 119,000 citations (10th among all chemists per Google Scholar) and holds more than 200 patents.
Saudi Gazette: "Retired KAUST professor bags prestigious King Faisal Prize"