In memoriam




André Mortreux was born in Libercourt in the north of France in 1943. He followed all of his University studies at the University of Lille where he obtained the DEA (master Level) in Organic Physical Chemistry in 1967. Early in his career, he had the opportunity to be assistant in 1968 then assistant professor in 1975 at the IUT of Poitier. This period was used to carry out a doctoral thesis under the supervision of Pr. Blanchard untitled « Réactions Catalytiques d’Hydrocarbures Acétyléniques : Isomérisation et Métathèse ». This period notably led André Mortreux to develop themes of heterogeneous catalysis and then of homogeneous catalysis. The highlight of the doctorate will be the demonstration of the first alkyne metathesis catalyst (Mo(CO)6 / Phenol) in a homogeneous phase. His knowledge of coordination chemistry and homogeneous phase catalysis will in particular be strengthened through a post-doctorate carried out in 1976 in the laboratory of Prof. F.G.A. Stone in Bristol. In 1977, André Mortreux then joined the IUT of Lille at Villeneuve D'Ascq (Université de Lille) as an assistant professor before being promoted professor in 1983. His arrival in Lille will notably strengthen the theme of homogeneous catalysis initiated by, then co-supervised with Prof. Francis Petit. A proactive research policy supported by the University of Lille, The region, the CNRS as well as major collaborations with several academic partners and french chemical companies (CDF chimie / Orkem / Elf Atochem, Enichem, Rhône Poulenc, SNPE, Sollac, Sipsy, Béghin-Say, Sanofi, Roquette Frères) will enable decisive advances in various fields of homogeneous catalysis. The metathesis of alkynes is a precursor element that will lead the team to develop often precursor research themes. We can cite important works related to the electrochemical synthesis of catalysts, the valorization of carbon monoxide, the chemistry of dienes (telomerization / dimerization), the design of chiral ligands (AMPPs) and their applications in asymmetric catalysis (allylation, hydrogenation, hydroformylation, dimerization), polymerization catalysis through the use of lanthanides or chain transfer polymerization, vegetal chemistry. Any synthetic approach based on the use of homogeneous catalysis with transition metals has attracted the attention of André Mortreux, who has carried out numerous research projects, both academic and industrial, during his career. All of his work will lead to more than two hundred scientific publications as well as 34 invention patents. Professor André Mortreux will be a senior IUF (Institut Universitaire de France) member in 2001 then 2011 and will take an active part in the life of the SCF (Société chimique de France)) at the regional level (secretary of the northern section from 1987 to 1998) then vice-president of the Catalysis division in 1998. He was recently awarded with the Prix Pierre Süe of the SCF in 2017. Everyone will remember his flawless pugnacity encouraged by his convictions, his always refreshing scientific curiosity as well as his desire to put forward a strong regional discipline: Catalysis.

André thus forged our laboratory and leaves us a major contribution of which we are heirs and of which we can be proud.