Three scientists, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa, who came up with the smallest machines in the world won a chemistry award for their works.
The trio won the Nobel chemistry prize for work on molecular machines that may lead to developments of new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is about the world’s smallest machines,” said Goran Hansson, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences which conferred the award. “The French, Scottish and Dutch scientists had developed molecules with controllable movements that can perform tasks when energy is added, the Academy said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($931,000) prize.”
World’s Smallest Machines Inventors
The molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors.
The celebrated trio are very successful scientists who have spent decades in the laboratory trying to find solutions in the field. Sauvage is a professor emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and director of research emeritus at France’s National Center for Scientific Research.
Stoddart, born in Edinburgh, is a professor of chemistry at Northwestern University in the United States, while Feringa is a professor in organic chemistry at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
While Stoddart watched the ceremony in a live broadcast from his home, he had a phone interview where he said he didn’t quite expect the big win. Although the project had been in the cards for 25 years, when the breakthrough finally came, it took his breath away.
Feringa, when asked his reaction to learning he had won, said:“What I said when I got this message is that I don’t know what to say.”
The Chemistry prize, which is the third of this year’s Nobel prizes after medicine and physics, is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.