Thomas Zemb (1953) received a first degree in nuclear engineering from the ETH in Zurich in 1973. He then moved to Paris to work at the Institut Curie where he defended a PhD thesis in 1976 on ‘Solvent Effects on Fluorescence of DNA Bases”. In 1985 he acquired the (now extinct) degree of ‘Docteur des Sciences’ for work on the structure of micelles investigated by means of a range of scattering techniques. His expertise in scattering brought him to Canberra (Australia) where he devoted himself to the construction of the National SAXS instrument (1985-1987). Since 1992 he is permanently attached to the CEA in Saclay as head of the Colloid Group of the DRECAM/SCM institute, and since 1997 as full professor at the Institut Nationale des Sciences Nucleaires, at the same place.
The work on catanionic systems took off in the late nineties and culminated in the discovery of beautifully structured colloidal objects. Zemb and his team have cleverly analysed these new structures and explained how various interactions conspire to produce them.
The work is a beautiful example of how to complex nanostructures in a systematic way from elaborate studies of phase diagrams taking into account basic principles of colloid science.
Prof. Thomas Zemb gave the ECIS 2004 Rhodia Lecture entitled “How Coulomb and Boltzmann create new micro-crystalline solids”
Th. Zemb, M. Dubois, B. Deme, Th. Gulik-Krzywicki, Science 283 (1999) 816
M. Dubois, B. Deme, Th. Gulik-Krzywicki, J.-C. Dedieu, C. Vautrin, S. Desert, E. Perez, Th. Zemb, Nature 411 (2001) 672