The Janssen prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis was awarded to me for our development of synthetic fullerene chemistry and for our synthesis-driven approach to decipher principles of molecular recognition in chemical and biological systems. It signals that excellence in synthesis extends beyond the invention of new methods for natural product total synthesis and new pharmaceuticals.
Professor François Diederich (born 1952 in Luxembourg) received his diploma (1977) and his Ph. D. (1979) from the University of Heidelberg. After postdoctoral studies at UCLA (1979-1981), he started independent research at the Max-Planck-Institute for medical research (Heidelberg). After his habilitation (1985), he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA as an associate professor (1985-1989) and full professor (1989-1992). In 1992, he became professor of organic chemistry at ETH Zurich. He received the ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1992), the Otto-Bayer-Preis für Chemie (1993), the Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2000), the August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze (GDCh, 2006), the ACS Ronald Breslow Award in Biomimetic Chemistry (2007), the Adolf-von-Baeyer-Denkmünze (GDCh, 2011), and holds a honorary doctoral degree from the Technion (2012).
He has been elected to the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW), the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the Real Academia Española de Ciencias, and the US National Academy of Sciences. His research interests are in molecular recognition in chemistry and biology, structure-based drug design, and carbon-rich optoelectronic materials, and the results have been reported in over 700 original publications.