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Molecules for making nanomachines snare chemistry Nobel

Tiny motors have potential uses in medicine, computing

By
3:47pm, October 5, 2016
chemistry Nobel winner

LIVING LARGE Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart, and Bernard Feringa won the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry for constructing teeny-tiny molecular machines.

Motors too small to see with the eye may soon have the power to drive innovations in chemistry, biology and computing. Three creators of such nanoscopic machines were honored October 5 with the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Sharing the prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000) equally are Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa. “If you had to choose three people at the top of the field, that’s it. These are the men,” says James Tour, a nanomachines chemist at Rice University in Houston. ”It is a well-warranted prize.”

Recognition of the burgeoning field of molecular motors will draw more money and inspire children to become scientists, says Donna Nelson, an organic chemist at the University of Oklahoma in Norman and the president of the American Chemical Society. “It will benefit not only these three chemists, it will benefit the entire field of chemistry.”

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