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Note of Memory

noteIn memoriam
Henri Benoît
(1921 - 2009)

          Henri S. Benoît graduated the prestigious “École normale supérieure Saint-Cloud”. He received his PhD from the Institute of Physics of Strasbourg in 1950 in the difficult conditions of after war Strasbourg [1]. In his thesis he described the theoretical and experimental bases of the Transient Molecular and Colloid Electric Birefringence (Kerr Effect) [2-4]. This practically was the beginning of Modern Molecular and Colloid Electro-optics. He always was engaged also in strengthening this new community Starting with Liege (E. Fredericq and Claude Houssier) in 1974 and ending with Mainz (Thomas Palberg, Matthias Ballauff, Dietmar Poerschke) in 2010, there have now been 12 International Meetings in this new scientific field.

In 1954, together with the Director of his thesis Charles Sadron, Professor Benoit participated actively in the creation of a new laboratory of CNRS (“Centre national de la recherche scientifique”) -“Centre de recherches sur les macromolecules” (CRM) (after 1985 Institute Charles Sadron-ICS of CNRS). Starting as Vice Director of the Laboratory in 1954, later its Director from 1967 to 1978 and till the end of his life as an active researcher, all scientific activity of Henri Benoit has been closely connected with CRM. At the same time he has been teaching in the University of Strasbourg, from 1949 as a “Maitre de conferences” and from 1954 to 1988 as a Professor. The results of his research were published in about 300 publications, only a small part of which is on Electro-optics [5]. Other fields in which he also made remarkable contributions are: statistics of polymer chains, thermodynamics of polymer solutions, scattering of light and neutrons, and steric exclusion chromatography. He co-authored a book with Julia Higgins on Neutron scattering by polymers, published by Oxford University Press in 1992. His last publications were in 2007. His scientific achievements were recognized in a considerable number of national and international distinctions and prizes. A detailed list of these honours together with lists of his scientific and administrative carrier and fields of research can be found in the note of the "Académie des sciences" of which he became member in 1983.

Professor Benoit was not only a remarkable scientist but also a remarkable man. He liked independent thinking and sincere irony language. He was always ready to help everybody, especially younger and foreign colleagues. His broad scientific and administrative activity brought him respect and friendship with many colleagues. The Electrooptic Community will keep his memory.

Prof. Stoyl P. Stoylov
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,
Sofia, Bulgaria  

[1]     H. Benoit, in S.P.Stoylov and M. V. Stoimenova, (Eds), The first years of modern electro-optics.
         A historical review, in Molecular and Colloid Electro-optics
, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2006, pp.1-13.
[2]     H. Benoit, Compt Rend., 228, 1716-1718 (1949).
         Sur un dispositif de mesure de l’effet Kerr par impulsions electriques isoles
[3]     H. Benoit, Compt Rend., 229, 30-32 (1949).
         Theory de l’effet Kerr d’une solution soumise a une impulsion electrique
[4]     H. Benoit, Ann. Phys. 6, 561-609 (1951).
         Contribution a l’etude de l’effet Kerr presente par les solutions diluees de
         macromolecules rigides

[5]     C. Picot, J. S. Higgins   Macromelecules, 34 8819 (2001) DOI: 10.1021/ma0117514







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