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Richard P. Feynman

2011 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

Submissions/nominations were due September 30, 2011

Winners of the 2011 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology

Palo Alto, CA — October 16, 2012 – Foresight is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes for Nanotechnology Theory and Experiment.

The winner of the 2011 Feynman Prize for Experimental work is Leonhard Grill (Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Research School, Germany) in recognition of his pioneering and continuing work on manipulating and structuring functional matter at the atomic scale. He has used scanning tunneling microscopy to characterize the electronic and mechanical properties of single molecules; constructed atomically precise covalent molecular nanostructures from single molecules; and used an STM tip to roll a 0.8 nanometer molecular wheel on a surface.

The winner of the 2011 Feynman Prize for Theory is Raymond Astumian (University of Maine, USA) for his contributions to the understanding of Brownian motion and its use to power molecular motors and other functional mechanisms at the atomic scale.

In awarding the prizes, Ralph C. Merkle, Chairman of the Prize Committee, noted that "The work of these Feynman Prize winners has brought us one step closer to answering Feynman's 1959 question, ‘What would happen if we could arrange atoms one by one the way we want them?’ And the ability to simulate and manipulate atoms advanced by the work of these Prize winners will enable us to design and build engineered molecular machinery with atomic precision. It will take us another step on the way to the development of revolutionary nanotechnologies that will transform our lives for the better.”

The annual Feynman Prizes represent milestones on the road to the award of the $250,000 Feynman Grand Prize, an incentive prize that will be awarded to the first researchers to make a nanometer-scale robotic arm and a nanometer-scale computing device, two critical components of an atomic scale molecular manufacturing system.

The Foresight Feynman Prizes were established by the Foresight Institute in 1993 and named in honor of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman whose influential essay, "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" inspired the first work on nanoscale science. The Institute awards Feynman prizes each year to recognize researchers - one for theoretical work and one for empirical research - whose recent work has most advanced the field toward the achievement of Feynman's vision for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.

For more information about the Foresight Feynman Prizes, past winners and the Feynman Grand Prize please see the information on the Foresight website at For more information about prizes and prize nominations please contact

2011 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theoretical and Experimental Molecular Nanotechnology

Two prizes in the amount of $5,000 each will be awarded to the researchers whose recent work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman's goal for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, defined as the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems. Separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work. The winners of this year's prizes will be announced at a venue to be announced.

This prize is given in honor of Richard P. Feynman who, in 1959, gave a visionary talk at Caltech in which he said "The problems of chemistry and biology can be greatly helped if our ability to see what we are doing, and to do things on an atomic level, is ultimately developed — a development which I think cannot be avoided."

Selection Committee for the 2011 Prizes

A committee chaired by a previous Feynman Prize recipient will be asked to select this year's honorees.

Nominations and Submissions

Either submit your own work or nominate a colleague who deserves this prize.

Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes Submission or Nomination Instructions.


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