Jean-Marie Lehn: ‘Science or music really can take up all your life’

Jean Marie Lehn

Source: © Peter Strain @ Début Art

The supramolecular innovator on the importance of different cultures in research, working like a pianist, and being shocked by an opera

I had a very dedicated primary school teacher, I owe him a lot. He really pushed us to go into high school. He would spend hours of his off time setting us problems, having us solve them and then correcting them. My parents were very intelligent, but they didn’t have much training. My mother had more than my father. My father was a baker, pianist (in particular accompanying silent movies) and organist.

In high school, I followed the classics section, Greek and Latin, English and German and philosophy in the last year. After the baccalauréat, I joined the University of Strasbourg where I studied natural sciences. I also followed a course in optics, in part to prove to myself that I was able to also understand advanced physics.