Yves Chauvin, engineer and Director of Research at IFPEN from 1960 to 1995, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

On 5 October 2005, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Yves Chauvin, engineer and Director of Research at IFPEN from 1960 to 1995, and Americans Robert H. Grubbs (Caltech) and Richard R. Schrock (MIT) for the development of metathesis reactions in organic synthesis.


The author of numerous publications in the field of organic synthesis and, more particularly, oligomerization and polymerization, it was in 1971 that Yves Chauvin succeeded in identifying the metathesis reaction mechanism.

“Metathesis means changing position. In metathesis reactions, the double bonds between atoms are broken and reform in such a way as to cause the atom groups to change position”, explained the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Advances related to Yves Chauvin’s scientific research paved the way for some very significant industrial applications, particularly the Alphabutol and Dimersol processes that have enjoyed remarkable commercial success on the international market. Yves Chauvin is a role model for all researchers since he achieved major scientific advances, while being committed to developing industrial applications in line with the constraints of sustainable development. As such, his work is a perfect illustration of how a fundamental science can be applied to benefit humankind, the economy and the environment.

Yves Chauvin was also very keen to be involved in the training of young researchers, supervising a number of theses, and IFPEN is now reaping the rewards in terms of the quality of the scientists he trained.


Photo de l'équipe d'Yves Chauvin en 1994
Yves Chauvin's team in 1994


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