This book is dedicated to Doctor Christian Pichot for his great scientific contribution in the polymer colloids domain and in honor of his retirement in October 2002.
Christian Pichot completed chemistry studies at Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, and then started his research career as a contract laboratory technician at the Faculte des Sciences d'Orsay in a Chemistry-Physics Laboratory directed by Professor M. Magat, one of the founders of Polymer Science in France. After a national service teaching in Ivory Coast, he was welcomed by A. Guyot, Director of Research, under a research contract allowing him to join the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) catalysis research institute and to be involved in various topics (physico-chemical characterization of polyphenylsiloxane, degradation studies of PVC models). In October 1972, he got a permanent position at the CNRS and he prepared a doctorate thesis on kinetic anomalies in radical-initiated copolymerization and their explanations, a work that he defended in 1976.
He completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship (from the National Science Foundation) at the Emulsion Polymers Institute (Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), under the guidance of Professors J. Vanderhoff and M. S. El-Aasser, giving him the opportunity to be trained in the field of latex synthesis and characterization. When he went back to the Laboratory of Organic Materials, first in Villeurbanne then in Vernaison in 1980, together with J. Guillot he played a significant role in setting up and developing a research team devoted to kinetics, characterization, and properties of radical copolymers produced in dispersed media (mostly in emulsion). He was responsible for training young research scientists who all went on to successful careers in industry. He dealt with a wide range of problems, both applied and fundamental, leading him to publish over 50 high-quality papers. The thesis students and scientists working under his direction particularly appreciated his availability and devotion, along with his friendly manner under all circumstances. He investigated three main topics: first, he tried to establish synthesis-structure-properties relationships in various emulsion (co)-polymers; second, he made a significant contribution to
the knowledge of inverse emulsion polymerization mechanisms, a subject that had been covered only by a restricted number of analyses; finally, he took particular interest in the original behavior of zwitterionic surfactants in emulsion polymerization, especially to produce monodisperse nanosized particles.
In 1988, his scientific reputation helped him to take part in the creation of a joint research unit between the CNRS and bioMerieux, a worldwide company partly located in the Lyon area and dealing with the manufacture of automatic diagnostic analyzers and reagents. This joint project soon resulted in patent registrations, but, above all, Christian Pichot initiated various research subjects related to the preparation of functionalized polymer supports with appropriated properties to interact with biological fluids. For that purpose, he particularly contributed to the design and elaboration either of reactive "linear" copolymers or of functionalized, stimuli-responsive, and magnetic latex particles. He developed a passionate interest in the complexity of these problems, resulting in the establishment of a laboratory considered an exemplary success. He chaired the Chemistry Group of the joint research unit from its creation until 2002, helping this team, now comprising a good balance of researchers with various expertises and coming from the CNRS and bioMerieux, to acquire an internationally acknowledged reputation.
Since 1980, he has been a member of the International Colloid Polymer Group, where he represents all those from the Lyon area working in this field. He is regurlarly invited as a lecturer in various meetings organized by the scientific community, and he has contributed to the creation of a large number of contacts and developed many collaborative research projects. From 1984, he was co-organizer in Lyon of four international symposia dealing mainly with polymers in dispersed media on both academic and applied aspects. He welcomed and trained in the lab many students who have gone on to careers as researchers in France and throughout the world.
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