Jean-Michel Savé ant, Emeritus Professor at Université de Paris, France, and former Research Director at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), passed away on August 16th, 2020, at the age of 86. He was a giant of electrochemistry, combining a strong personality with extreme rigor and elegance in his work, deep creativity, and a communicative enthusiasm for ceaselessly exploring the frontiers of knowledge and chemical sciences.
Savé ant’s scientific career is the story of the founding and development of molecular electrochemistry. He pioneered and developed most aspects of the field, from instrumentation to theoretical aspects and practical applications. In a conceptual and practical effort to solve contemporary energy challenges, Savé ant pioneered an enormous body of knowledge, tools, and models to develop highly original and key contributions towards various sub-fields of chemistry and biochemistry, including electron and proton transfer chemistry, modelling of chemical reactivity, chemistry of free radicals, chemistry of metal complexes, photochemistry, physical chemistry of solids, enzymology, and catalytic activation of small molecules such as CO2 and H2O.
“Jean-Michel Savé ant belonged to a glorious era of electrochemistry when science was guided by a curiosity for understanding the world better, and scientists were colorful personalities. He leaves an enormous scientific legacy with hundreds of papers reflecting his enormous impact. Electrochemistry and science as a whole have lost a giant and many of us will miss a friend and a mentor,” said Christian Amatore, Cyrille Costentin, and Marc Robert.
Born in 1933, Savé ant received his undergraduate degree from the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Agrégation des Sciences Physiques (1954-1958), France, then did pre-doctoral work at l’Istituto di Chimica Fisica dell’ Università di Padova (1959), Italy. After performing his military service (1960-1962), Savé ant completed his PhD at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (1966) where he then served as Vice-Director of the Chemistry Department. In 1971, he became Professor at the Université Paris Denis Diderot, France. Savé ant was named Research Director of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1985. From 1988-1989, Savé ant was a distinguished Fairchild Scholar at the California Institute of Technology.
Among the many honors bestowed on Savé ant are the Bruno Beyer Award of the Royal Australian Chemistry Institute (2005), ECS Organic and Biological Electrochemistry Division Manuel M. Baizer Award (2002), the ECS Olin Palladium Award (1993), and Faraday Medal of the Royal Chemical Society (1983). He became a member of the Académie des sciences (French Academy of Sciences) in 2000, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S., in 2001. Author of over 400 peer-reviewed articles, Savé ant applied for and/or received at least 10 patents. The author (with Cyrille Costentin) of “Elements of Molecular and Biomolecular Electrochemistry,” Savé ant was Oskar K. Rice Distinguished Lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1995); Nelson Leonard Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Illinois (1999); and George Fisher Baker Lecturer at Cornell University (2002). Savé ant presented frequently at ECS meetings, delivering invited lectures when he received the Olin Palladium and Manuel M. Baizer Awards.
With special thanks to Christian Amatore, Cyrille Costentin, and Marc Robert for their personal tributes to Jean-Michel Savé ant.