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by Randy Cassingham
Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives
Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
A physicist who studied in California, de Gennes returned to his native France to work. One of his many interests was liquid crystals, which were discovered in the 19th century, but no one really understood how they worked. They did after de Gennes was done: his 1974 The Physics of Liquid Crystals is still the gold standard text, and his work enabled cheap liquid crystal displays (LCDs) on everything from calculators to cell phones to computer monitors. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1991, as well as the Wolf Prize in 1990. The Nobel board dubbed him the “Isaac Newton of our time” — which de Gennes rejected as “Nordic lyricism” (Newton was English). He died May 18 in Orsay. He was 74.
From This is True for 20 May 2007
New: Honorary Unsubscribe Books
The early write-ups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks. See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (covering 2001 through 2003), and Volume 3 (covering 2004 through 2006). The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.
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