Jean Jacques

A Chemist's Life Publication date : May 1, 2000

“Orphans cannot imagine the determination of some octogenarians to carry on living, come what may, just so that they can have the pleasure of recounting their first paid leave in Treport, in 1936, to people who don’t give a damn,” wrote Pierre Desproges. “This book is my own Treport, in 1936. But I never went to Treport. I was somewhere else.”
These are the anti-memoirs of a most unusual scientist, who is just as interested in literature and contemporary art as in chemical reactions, and who cares more for the friends he has made during his career than for honours and awards.
He tells of his childhood dreams, teenage discoveries and wartime experiences; he talks about the people who exercised a major influence in his life, particularly his friend César and his mentor Gregory Pinkus, the inventor of the contraceptive pill. He recounts the story of his life, his scientific adventures and human encounters with humour and sometimes irony.

Jean Jacques, an honorary research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, is also a specialist in the history of scientific popularisation. He is the author of L’Imprévu ou la Science des Objets Trouvés.