FaceOf: Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet, former senior VP at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Updated 12 January 2019

FaceOf: Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet, former senior VP at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

  • Prof. Frechet’s specialties lie in chemical and biological science and engineering
  • Prof. Frechet received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles de Lyon in 1967

Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet is a former senior vice president for research, innovation, and economic development at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah. He started in June 2010 and retired early January 2019.

On Wednesday, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal revealed the winners of the 2019 King Faisal Prize, recognizing individuals and institutions for significant contributions to their field.

The winners included Prof. Abdelali Mohamed Oudrhiri from Morocco and Prof. Mahmoud Fahmy Hegazi from Egypt for Arabic language and literature, Prof. Bjorn Reino Olsen and Prof. Steven L. Teitelbaum from the US for medicine. Prof. Allen Joseph Bard for science, and Prof. Frechet from the US for outstanding contributions in the field of chemistry.

Prof. Frechet’s specialties lie in chemical and biological science and engineering, including polymer science, microfluidics, and nanotechnology. He has written for more than 800 publications, holds over 200 patents, and was also the recipient of the 2007 Dickson Prize and Arthur C. Cope Award, as well as the 2013 Japan Prize for chemistry.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles de Lyon in 1967, and in 1969 received a master’s in organic and polymer chemistry from Syracuse University and State University of New York. He obtained his doctorate from the same university in 1971.

Becoming a faculty member in the field of chemistry at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1973, Frechet left for the role of IBM Professor of Polymer Chemistry at Cornell University in 1987. 


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 5 min 58 sec ago

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.