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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn - From Supramolecular Chemistry towards Adaptive Chemistry

Date: Wed 20 Mar 2019, 13:00 - 14:30  Add this event to your calendar

Location: Engineering 209


Following a Public Lecture on Tuesday,
Jean-Marie Lehn (1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) will give a specialized chemistry seminar at SEMS in Queen Mary. It is about the evolution of chemistry during our lifetimes. Everyone interested is welcome.

Attendance is free but get your tickets to help us gauge attendance:
Free tickets at:


Molecular chemistry has developed a wide range of very powerful procedures for building ever more complicated molecules from atoms linked by covalent bonds.

Supramolecular chemistry aims at generating highly complex chemical systems from molecular components held together by non-covalent intermolecular forces, on the basis of the molecular information stored in the covalent framework of the components. A step beyond consists in the design of systems undergoing self-organization, i.e. systems capable of spontaneously generating well-defined functional architectures by self-assembly from their components.
Supramolecular chemistry is intrinsically a dynamic chemistry in view of the lability of the interactions connecting the molecular components of a supramolecular species and the resulting ability to exchange components. The same holds for molecular chemistry when the molecular entity contains covalent bonds that may form and break reversibility, so as to allow a continuous change in constitution by reorganization and exchange of building blocks. These features define a Constitutional Dynamic Chemistry (CDC) covering both the molecular and supramolecular levels.
CDC introduces a paradigm shift with respect to constitutionally static chemistry. It takes advantage of dynamic diversity to allow variation and selection and operates on dynamic constitutional diversity in response to either internal or external factors to achieve adaptation.

CDC generates networks of dynamically interconverting constituents, constitutional dynamic networks, presenting agonistic and antagonistic relationships between their constituents that may respond to perturbations by physical stimuli or to chemical effectors.

The implementation of these concepts points to the emergence of adaptive and evolutive chemistry, towards systems of increasing complexity.


- Lehn, J.-M., Supramolecular Chemistry: Concepts and Perspectives, VCH Weinheim, 1995.
- Lehn, J.-M., Dynamic combinatorial chemistry and virtual combinatorial libraries, Chem. Eur. J., 1999, 5, 2455.
- Lehn, J.-M., Toward complex matter: Supramolecular chemistry and self-organization, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2002, 99, 4763.
- Lehn, J.-M., From supramolecular chemistry towards constitutional dynamic chemistry and adaptive chemistry, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2007, 36, 151.
- Lehn, J.-M., Chapter 1, in Constitutional Dynamic Chemistry, ed. M. Barboiu, Topics Curr. Chem, 2012, 322, 1-32.
- Lehn, J.-M., Perspectives in Chemistry – Steps towards Complex Matter, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52, 2836-2850.
- Lehn, J.-M., Perspectives in Chemistry – Aspects of Adaptive Chemistry and Materials, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 3276-3289.

SEMS divisions:
Contact:Stoyan Smoukov