Obituary: Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932–2007): Pioneer of soft-matter physics.
Françoise Brochard-Wyart writes:
“De Gennes fostered a collective research effort that is scarcely imaginable today. Papers were signed not with the names of individuals, but with the name of the group. Theoreticians would spend half their time contemplating liquid crystals under the microscope and discussing practical experiments. Researchers would often arrive in the morning to find a note from de Gennes that would launch them in yet another ground-breaking direction. Calling on his vast knowledge of physics, de Gennes drew analogies between different fields. For example, he realized that laws developed to describe superconductivity phenomena could be used to understand phase transitions in liquid crystals.”