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Chemist Bertrand Named to French Academy

UC Riverside Chemist Elected to French Academy of Sciences

Distinguished Professor Guy Bertrand One of Two Chemists Chosen in 2004 to Prestigious Academy

(December 20, 2004)

Guy Bertrand<br />

Guy Bertrand

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — www.ucr.eduGuy Bertrand, director of the U.S.-French, UCR-CNRS Joint Research Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Riverside has been elected to the prestigious Academy of Sciences of the Institute of France.

Dr. Bertrand came to UC Riverside in 2001 to head the joint laboratory in cooperation with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, (CNRS), France’s elite body of scientists, where he had worked since 1975. The joint venture was the first of its kind. He is also a distinguished professor of chemistry at UCR.

Bertrand was named a member of the French Academy of Sciences on Nov. 30, and in an induction ceremony in June, will receive his sword and congratulations from French President Jacques Chirac. Bertrand was one of only two chemists elected to the academy in 2004. The academy includes 25 chemists — 10 of whom are emeritus.

“Dr. Bertrand’s election to this prestigious science academy underscores the quality of his research program here at UC Riverside and it underscores the quality of the partnerships between UCR and French scientists through their collaborations in the UCR-CNRS Joint Research Chemistry Laboratory,” said Steven Angle, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. “We are delighted to see the work of one of our faculty recognized by such an august group.”

“For a scientist, to be elected at his national academy, is a kind of dream, and when this dream becomes reality, that is great,” Bertrand added. “My election is also a very clear sign that my French colleagues have understood why I have decided to work in the U.S. and they are closely following my career.”

The Academy of Sciences of the Institute of France elects new members from nominations made by its existing members. Nominees undergo an elimination process leading to their election. The academy’s 250 members bring together French scholars and form associations with foreign scholars selecting among the most eminent. Together, they help accomplish the academy’s missions.

These missions include studying social issues related to the sciences and offering recommendations; helping develop international scientific relations, mostly within the European Union, to promote research carried out in France; monitoring the quality of science teaching and ensuring that the products of scientific research are integrated into society; encouraging the diffusion of science to the public; and supporting the role and quality of French scientific language.

Bertrand has authored more than 270 scholarly papers and holds 19 patents. His research field is new materials, such as biodegradable polymers as possible drug delivery systems. In 1988, he and a group of collaborators were the first to describe a stable carbene, a neutral compound with important impacts across the field, particularly in the production of pharmaceuticals and polymers.
Bertrand’s laboratory at UCR focuses on the main group elements (group 13 through 16 in the periodical table), which lie at the frontiers of organic, organometallic and inorganic chemistry. Bertrand uses the specific properties of main group elements, especially boron, silicon and phosphorous, to stabilize organic species.

The French Academy of Sciences of Paris emerged from Jean Baptiste Colbert’s plan to create a general academy. The finance minister to King Louis XIV capitalized on the practice of the time for groups of scholars to gather around a patron or a learned personality. In 1816, the Academy of Sciences achieved autonomy, becoming part of the Institute of France. The Academy of Sciences comprises members, foreign associates and correspondents divided into two divisions: Mathematical and physical sciences; and chemical, natural, biological, and medical sciences. Bertrand was a correspondent of the academy since 1996 before being elected a full member.

Bertrand is a member of various editorial boards, including those of Heteroatom Chemistry, Chemical Reviews, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, and Topics in Stereochemistry. He was vice chairman of the European Chemical Society and a member of the board of the International Council on Main Group Element and the French Committee for the Evaluation of the National Research.

His honors include election in 2003 to the European Academy of Sciences, election in 2002 to the Academia Europaea, election in 2000 to the French Academy of Technology, a 1999 Japanese Society for Promotion of Science Award, a 1998 Médaille d’Argent du CNRS, election in 1996 to correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences, and a 1994 French-German Humboldt Award. He received his undergraduate degree from the Université de Montpellier in 1975 and his doctoral degree in 1979 from the Université Paul Sabatier.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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