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Jean-Paul Malrieu

Date of investiture:
29 January 2013
Rosa Caballol
Area of knowledge:
Environmental Sciences

Trained at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he did his doctorate under the supervision of Bernard Pullman, the prolific French quantum chemist, and he joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), where he became one of the leading quantum chemists of his generation. Currently he is emeritus professor at this institution.

He started out in research at the end of the 1960s in Paris' Latin Quarter, where he was a member of a group of young researchers, full of talent and curiosity for a science that was still in its early stages and concerned about social issues.

One of Jean-Paul Malrieu's constant preoccupations has been to understand the physics underlying chemical systems so that their properties can be studied rationally. Particularly important among his scientific merits are the guidelines he drew up for selecting the most important contributions of electronic correlation, detailed analyses of the electronic factors that favour magnetic coupling, procedures for condensing the information provided by calculations, and efficient solutions for correcting the important problem of N-dependence. Very soon he started to publish pioneering studies on quantum chemical methodology, and it was at this time that he wrote his most cited publication, with more than 800 references.

In his speech, Malrieu spoke of the relations between science and market, and of the effort that his generation made to overcome scientific rigidity. However, he pointed out that the current situation is far from stimulating because it focuses too much on evaluating figures or on the competitiveness of everybody against everybody else. Figures kill science.