The University of Bordeaux awards the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to foreign personalities in recognition of their contributions to the arts, literature, science, and technology as well as to France. It is one of the University’s oldest traditions, created by decree on June 26, 1918, during the Third Republic.
Notable recipients include Alexi Abrikosov (Nobel Prize in Physics 2003), Peter Courtland Agre (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003), and David Julius (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021).
Tirrell is a pioneer in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology. He specializes in manipulating and measuring the surface properties of polymers, materials consisting of long flexible chains of molecules. His team has opened new perspectives on polymer surface phenomena, such as adhesion, friction, and biocompatibility.
Tirrell has collaborated with several French institutes, including the University of Bordeaux, for more than ten years. In 2011, he was appointed president of the international scientific council of the LabEx AMADEus and of the Equipex ELORPrintTec.
Tirrell holds several honors, including the National Award in Colloid Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the Polymer Physics Prize from the American Physical Society, the William H. Walker Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Le Prix Dédale de la Sociéte Franꞔaise d’Adhesion, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2009 for services rendered to French culture.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Physical Society.