ECMM 2006



European Conference on Molecular Magnetism

October 10-15, 2006

Hotel dos Templários

Tomar, Portugal


Olivier Kahn an enthusiastic pioneer

 in Molecular Magnetism


            Olivier Kahn (1942-1999) was a talented scientist, brilliant pedagogue and enthusiastic researcher. Trained as a chemical engineer, he was first a full time researcher at french CNRS and then Professor at Paris-Sud University and at Bordeaux University.

            He is considered as the founder and one of the pioneers in molecular magnetism. He had a true passion for chemistry, considered as an art and a science to transform the matter and the world. More precisely, he was fond of designing new magnetic systems, to play with transition and lanthanide elements and organic ligands to get new molecules with new but expected properties. Indeed, he had designed when young a powerful theoretical model of exchange interaction between localized electrons and his first scientific achievement was to synthesize real chemical systems, conceived to check the validity of the model. Then he engaged in a wide research programme on a rational way from molecules to molecule-based magnets, on bistability on molecular systems and on multifunctional magnetic materials. He took care of possible applications of the research in molecular magnetism.

            He was a very efficient scientific leader. He trained tens of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows, so that his scientific influence spread quickly in Europe and in the world. His book, Molecular Magnetism, was an outstanding contribution to the development of the field. He died too early, at 57, in full scientific activity. During all his life, he took great care of young scientists and he helped many of them in their career. He generated a lot of scientific collaborations in Europe, Japan and in other countries. He was a pioneer in building a European research area in molecular magnetism, in a climate of friendly active competition with scientists all over the world.

            There is no better way to honour his memory than to create a special award bearing his name, to be offered to a young scientist having contributed significantly to the development of molecular magnetism in Europe. And there is no better manner to help a talented young scientist to develop in a creative manner his/her activities than to present him/her the first Olivier Kahn’s medal.


Paris, November 10th 2005


Michel Verdaguer