Having been given the opportunity to write this article about Jean Bousquet is certainly an honour and an absolute pleasure. Jean born in 1946 has surely everything that is needed to become a Legend. This term is usually reserved for a famous person of ancient times; however, Jean is certainly not ancient, given that he is so extremely alert and up to date.
“Up to date” may in fact potentially be regarded as an insult by Jean, as we must admit that he is always at least ten years ahead.
I, Torsten Zuberbier, have been working with Jean for the past 15 years in the leadership of GA2LEN and must confess that at numerous times he has more than proven this.
I, Anna Bedbrook, have been working very closely alongside Jean for twenty years. Since the beginning, I have never looked back and seem to have miraculously managed to keep up over the years with Jean’s extremely rapid pace.
Jean has not only a photographic memory but also loves and captures all details of a situation at first glance. This clearly brings us to his scientific achievements. Jean is certainly the only physician to our knowledge who has completed 4 different university degrees, becoming a chemist at the age of 21, a pharmacist at 22, a biologist at 24 and a medical doctor at 29. His capacity of high productivity and diversity of projects conducted simultaneously was demonstrated when he obtained PhD and MD degrees in the same week (one in pharmacy ("Immunology of the pleural fluid") and one in medicine ("Allergic risk and its prevention")) while at the same time organizing an international meeting on allergen standardization.
For those who know Jean, it is easy to imagine when he tells us that at school, his teachers did not like him very much, that he was a bit of an annoying pest. Well, for those of you who have school-aged children who by chance also possess similar genius-like tendencies, maybe it would be a good idea to tell them not to correct their teacher in every lesson. We believe that Jean was never given this advice..! At school, Jean’s admirable capacity in science was based both on his photographic memory and on his speed of reading, easily comparable to the xerox machines of his time. To be noted that Jean taught himself to read at the age of 6 by studying cars in the street and working out the make and model of each one. In fact, should you accompany Jean anywhere in the world, you don't need Wikipedia, as he himself is an actual walking encyclopaedia and a Wikipedia reader at bedtime. He can tell you everything there is to know about the monuments you visit (history, date of construction,
height, width...) as well as the artists whose masterpieces you admire (techniques used in each painting, date of birth/death of the artist). He is a museum guide’s nightmare, catching him/her out on any incorrect dates or facts.
The full-length original manuscript can be found on the GA2LEN website http://www.ga2len.net