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The origin of chemistry in Montpellier

In 1889, the first Institute of Chemistry of Montpellier was arranged in the premises of the College of Pharmacy, in « rue de la Verrerie haute », it housed the chemistry teachings given in that College and in the Faculty of Sciences. The second Institute of chemistry was installed in 1922 in the premises of the former bishop’s palace, at the angle of rue Cardinal de Cabrières and rue Montels. The third Institute of chemistry built in 1934 under Dean Marcek Godechot in the vicinity of the Ecole Normale for Boys, was situated on a wasteland close to the Maternity hospital. It became in 1957 the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier (ENSCM). Since then, the College was enlarged with the addition of the Max Mousseron Research Centre in 1965. Today, our Institute, the IBMM, Institute des Biomolécules Max Mousseron, bears his name, further to the merger of several chemistry laboratories implanted in Montpellier.

Monsieur Max Mousseron

A chemist and doctor of pharmacy, Max Mousseron was born in Sorgues (Vaucluse) on 30 May 1902, he died in Montpellier on 1st March 1988. A professor of analytical chemistry, then of organic chemistry in the Faculty of pharmacy of Montpellier (1933-1955) he succeeded Dean Godechot and became Fellow of the Academy of Sciences and Literature of Montpellier as of 1943. He was then simultaneously a co-tutor to the chair of Organic Chemistry of the Faculty of sciences and the Director of the Institute of chemistry. In 1957, he obtained the transformation of the Institute of Chemistry into the ENSI and was appointed as the first Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier (from 1941 to 1972). He enlarged the premises with the construction of the research building of the College in 1965 which now bears his name. In 1960, he also became Director of the associated centre of the CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers). Max Mousseron was one of the pathfinders who developed on the one hand collaborations between University and the CNRS and on the other hand between University and Industry. In 1962, he ran a pharmaceutical research laboratory on behalf of the CLIN-BILA company, he retired in 1972 as a professor and stayed two more years as Director of the CLIN-MIDY company in Montpellier which became Sanofi-Recherche in 1981, Sanofi-Synthélabo in 1999 and finally Sanofi-Aventis in 2004.