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Jean Fréchet is the coinventor of the chemically amplified materials that have proven critical for the miniaturization of nearly all the electronic devices that over the past 25 years have come to affect everyday life. The original design, patented in 1985, was developed jointly with Grant Willson at IBM San Jose Research Laboratory, where Dr. Fréchet was on sabbatical leave from the University of Ottawa. Development of the new materials continued in joint studies at IBM and the University of Ottawa and later at Cornell University, leading to their early commercialization by IBM and widespread licensing.
An expert in polymers, Dr. Fréchet is also well known for his work on dendrimers, separation media, polymer therapeutics, and other technologies. His work has garnered over 120,000 citations (Google Scholar).
After retiring from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Fréchet joined the newly created King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in 2010 as its first vice president for research. He retired in January 2019 as senior vice president for research, innovation, and economic development.
A member of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Fréchet has been selected for numerous international honors, including the ACS Arthur C. Cope Award, Erasmus Medal, French Grand Prix de la Maison de la Chimie, Japan Prize (shared with Grant Willson), and King Faisal International Prize in Chemistry.
He received his BS in chemical engineering from the Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles, and then his MS from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and PhD from Syracuse University, both in polymer chemistry.