Claude Monet The Cliffs at EtretatI have almost finished the biography of a scientific hero of mine, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes. One observation in the book has particularly struck me, and that is that de Gennes viewed his approach as more like that of the Impressionist artists, and less like the approach of the artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

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King Edward's Gate, Trinity College, Cambridge - geograph.org.uk - 1057067This is the last week of semester before the Christmas break, so things are getting a little busy, and I could spend a day at Cambridge talking science with an old friend and his PhD student. The student has started from a paper I did almost ten years ago, and is extending the work. He is doing some really smart calculations, and it is a little humbling, and very flattering, to see how has taken what I have done and gone far beyond that.

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DE GENNES Pierre Gilles-24x30-2001I am reading a biography of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, by Laurence Plévert. De Gennes won the Nobel prize in physics in 1991. I guess he is a scientific hero of mine. The Nobel prize was for his work on understanding polymers and liquid crystals. You are probably reading this screen with a liquid crystal display of some sort (often called just LCDs). He perhaps contributed more to understanding what liquid crystals are, than anyone else.

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