Odile Jacob is the founder and CEO of publishing house Les Éditions Odile Jacob. She is also a trained scientist who studies the workings of the brain, the mind and thought, and a member of Le Siècle.
Jacob completed her thesis at Harvard University on the acquisition of concepts in children. She was a pioneer in this field, which at the time was neither taught nor researched in France.
She then founded Les Éditions Odile Jacob with the goal of giving readers an understanding of the scientific advances that have transformed our contemporary world and to help scientists and scholars gain international recognition. Les Éditions Odile Jacob has published the work of many scientists and Nobel Prize winners including Jean-Pierre Changeux, Ilya Prigogine, James Watson, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Gerald Edelman, and Antonio Damasio. Jacob has also developed a strong list devoted to current affairs and politics: the former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the former U.S. Secretary of the State Colin Powell, the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the former Soviet foreign affairs Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, the late French President François Mitterrand, the former French President Jacques Chirac, and also the former European Commission Chairman Jacques Delors.
Her awards include the 1991 Grand Prix de l’Information Scientifique by the French Academy of Sciences, 1995 businesswoman of the year by the Veuve Clicquot Prize Jury, the 2004 Grinzane Cavour Prize for Publishing in Turin, Italy and Doctor Honoris Causa by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. In 2010 she became an Officier in the National Order of the Legion of Honor.