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Claude Guillemin

Claude Jean Guy Guillemin, former curator of minerals at the Paris School of Mines, was born September 13, 1923, the son of Jeanne Hacherel and André Guillemin, a corporate executive. Claude married Cecile Robin on June 6, 1946, and together they had three children: Anne, Jean-Louis and France (one is now a doctor and two are professors). After attending school at the Lycée Buffon, he graduated from the École de santé de la Marine in 1947. He later studied pharmacy in Bordeaux and sciences in Bordeaux and Paris; receiving his Doctor of Pharmacy degree (in 1951) and his PhD in sciences (in 1955).

Guillemin's lifelong interest was minerals. During his postgraduate studies at the Marine Health Service School he acquired the solid knowledge in chemistry that strengthened his vocation. His pharmacy thesis (1951) concerned the mineralogy of the copper deposit of Cap Garonne, near Toulon, and his PhD thesis in natural sciences (1955) was an exhaustive study of the arsenates, phosphates and vanadates of copper.

Guillemin had achieved the rank of pharmacist-colonel in the French Navy when he officially retired in 1979, but he served in active duty only from 1947 to 1949. He was associate chief of the mining department of the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (1949-1952), Assistant Professor at the University of Paris (1952-1956), Chief Engineer of the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (the BRGM, from 1956), and later served as Scientific Director (1968-1978) and Inspector General of the BRGM (1978-1986). While at the BRGM he created and developed the research services in chemistry, geochemistry, mineralogy, petrography and mineralogy, introducing modern methods of physicochemical analysis, such as the use of the electronic microprobe. He was also a Professor at École des Mines in Paris (1957-1969) and was Conservator of the mineralogy collection there beginning in 1959.

Guillemin served as Vice-Chairman of the French Committee for Research and Technology (CSRT) (1978-1980), Chairman of Société Française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie, Associate Member of French Academy of Sciences (elected in 1980), and Chairman of International Mineralogical Association (1978). He received the French National distinctions of Officer of Legion d'Honneur and Commander of Merit. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Orléans.

Claude Guillemin died on April 6, 1994. During his professional career he wrote more than 200 papers and scientific books. Among his most interesting works for the mineral collector was his En visitant les grandes collections mineralogiques mondiales ("Visiting the Greatest Mineralogical Collections in the World") (1988), in which he lists, describes (and in some cases even sketches) his favorite mineral specimens in museums around the world. His scientific works span mineralogy, crystallography, structural analysis, protection of environment, geopolitics, and geothermal energy among other fields. The Avenue Claude Guillemin in Orleans, near the BRGM facilities, was named in his honor, as was a new uranium mineral from the Musonoi mine, guilleminite (in 1965).


Who's Who in France.
CURIEN, H. (1994) Obituary of Claude Guillemin.
Annales des Mines (1994)
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
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The Mineralogical Record - Claude Guillemin Claude Guillemin with large vivianite crystals recovered from a swamp in the Cameroons.
The Mineralogical Record - Claude Guillemin
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