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Specific issues

Yves Chauvin, Engineer and Research Director at IFPEN from 1960 to 1995, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

October 2005

Yves Chauvin

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded on Wednesday 5 October to Yves Chauvin, Engineer and Research Director at IFPEN from 1960 to 1995, and the American scientists Robert H. Grubbs (Caltech) and Richard R. Schrock (MIT) "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis".
After joining IFPEN in 1960 as a research engineer in thermodynamics and applied kinetics, he was head of research and then led the Homogeneous Catalysis unit before becoming research director in 1991. Yves Chauvin is the author of numerous publications in the field of organic synthesis, and more particularly in metathesis, oligomerization and polymerization.

In 1971, he succeeded in identifying the reaction mechanism at work in metathesis. "The word 'metathesis' means to 'change places'. In metathesis reactions, the double bonds between atoms are broken and reformed in ways that cause atom groups to change places," explained the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.
The advances enabled by Yves Chauvin's scientific research paved the way for numerous industrial applications, such as the Alphabutol and Dimersol processes, which have proved outstanding commercial successes on the international market. Yves Chauvin is a model for the entire research community and for IFPEN's researchers in particular. He achieved scientific breakthroughs, at the same time striving to develop industrial applications that were in keeping with the constraints of sustainable development. As such, he has provided a perfect demonstration of how a basic science can be applied for the benefit of mankind, society and the environment.
Yves Chauvin also took a keen interest in training young researchers and supervised numerous theses. Today IFPEN benefits from the quality of the researchers he trained.
This Nobel Prize, the most prestigious scientific distinction in the world, also highlights IFPEN's outstanding catalysis work and its staff as a whole. It realizes the ambitions of the French catalysis school, born fifty years ago.

Yves Chauvin and his team, at IFP

For further information :

+ Expertise > The research divisions >   Catalysis and Separation  

+ Publications :

20 April 2016
IFPEN is dedicating a special issue of its OGST journal to Yves Chauvin, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005
To mark the anniversary of the death, one year ago, of Yves Chauvin, joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 and Director of Research at IFPEN (IFP Energies nouvelles), IFPEN is dedicating a special issue of its Oil & Gas Science and Technology (OGST) journal to the great French chemist.
Under the patronage of the French Academy of Sciences, of which Yves Chauvin was a member, the design of this issue was overseen by Hélène Olivier-Bourbigou, who worked very closely with Yves Chauvin at IFPEN and is herself recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in molecular catalysis. > For further information

Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue de l'IFP

Yves Chauvin proposed the role of metallocarbenes as intermediates in the metathesis reaction in 1971 with Jean-Louis Hérisson, his thesis student at IFPEN [ J.L. Hérisson et Y. Chauvin, Makromol. Chem., 141, 161 (1971) ]. Shortly afterwards, in 1974, he contributed a review article to the journal Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, with his colleague D. Commereuc [Y. Chauvin et D. Commereuc, Rev. I.F.P., 29, 73 (1974)], in which they describe the various transformations in which this mechanism plays a part (disproportionation, polymerisation and telomerisation of olefins), and list the possible industrial applications. The Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles article is reproduced here.
 >> Alkylidenolysis of Olefins Catalysed by Transition-Metal Complexes
 Y. Chauvin, D. Commereuc - Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, 1974, Vol. 29, n°01

Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles
 Vol. 62 No. 6 (November-December 2007)
 >> Special Issue in Honour of Yves Chauvin

New Journal of Chemistry

Metathesis is one of the most spectacular recent improvements in synthetic strategies for organic synthesis and polymer science. The historical aspects and modern developments of the metathesis reactions are summarized here. In particular, emphasis is placed on the leading role played by the mechanistic work and proposals of Yves Chauvin and on the history of the efficient catalysts discovered by the groups of R. R. Schrock and R. H. Grubbs. It is pointed out how the Chauvin metathesis mechanism, with formation of a metallacyclobutane, has been generalized to many organometallic reactions that also involve square intermediates comprising a metal atom. Subsequently, the progressive development of ideas by Schrock and Grubbs during the last three decades has brought the field to the forefront of synthetic chemistry. The quest for efficient metathesis catalysts is a success story, starting from organometallic mechanisms, that has now invaded the worlds of organic synthesis and polymer science. Indeed, the Schrock and Grubbs catalysts and their derivatives are now the most efficient catalysts compatible with functional groups for the metathesis reactions. They considerably shorten synthetic schemes by affording new routes and therefore have changed the way chemists think about synthesis.
 >> The metathesis reactions: from a historical perspective to recent developments
 Didier Astruc - New Journal of Chemistry, 2005, 29(1), 42 - 56

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