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October 22, 2004: Foresight Institute Awards Feynman Prizes

Nanotechnology Researchers, Journalist and Student Honored at Advanced Nanotechnology Conference

Palo Alto, CA – October 22, 2004 – Foresight Institute, the leading nanotechnology think tank and public interest organization, awarded prizes to leaders in research, communication and study in the field of nanotechnology at the 2004 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize Awards Banquet. Over 200 influential scientists, researchers and others in the nanotechnology community gathered to honor the recipients of these prestigious awards at the banquet, which was held on the opening night of the 1st Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology.

The 2004 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, were presented to Drs. Homme Hellinga, David Baker and Brian Kuhlman. The Foresight Prize in Communication was presented to nanotechnology journalist and popular blogger, Howard Lovy. Syracuse University doctoral candidate and Graduate Fellow at Nanorex Corporation, Damian Allis, received the Foresight Distinguished Student Award.

"The Foresight Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology are given to researchers whose recent work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman's goal for nanotechnology: the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems." said Christine Peterson, Conference Chair and Founder of Foresight Institute.

Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes—Experimental and Theory

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes are given in two categories, one for experimental and the other for theory in advances in nanotechnology.

Dr. David Baker of the University of Washington, Department of Biochemistry, and Dr. Brian Kuhlman, of the University of North Carolina, Dept of Biochemistry and Biophysics, received the theory prize for their development of RosettaDesign, a program that has a high success rate in designing stable protein structures with a specified backbone folding structure. Their work includes the design of the first protein to be constructed with a backbone fold not observed in nature; in experimental testing, the novel backbone structure was found to be extremely stable and to match the predicted structure with atomic-level accuracy. Their work marks a milestone on a path to molecular machine systems. Professor Baker has made RosettaDesign freely available to the research community.

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental work was awarded to Dr. Homme Hellinga, of Duke University's, Department of Biochemistry, for his achievement in the engineering of atomically precise devices capable of precise manipulation of other molecular structures. Building on a broad base of achievement in computationally directed protein engineering, he has extended this work to the construction of an enzyme. This achievement demonstrates an innovative blend of techniques, applying computational design to reengineer a structure found in nature into a novel one with a different function. This work breaks new ground in engineering devices that transform molecular structures.

Foresight Institute Prize in Communication

The Foresight Institute Prize in Communication was awarded to Howard Lovy, nanotechnology journalist and author of the popular NanoBot Blog. Lovy has taken a leading role in educating the nanotechnology community about the long-term potential of molecular nanotechnology. He brings a balanced voice to the short-term and long-term nanotechnology debate and urges the community to keep an open mind about the issues and potential promise of molecular nanotechnology.

Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award

A Graduate Fellow at Nanorex Corporation and Syracuse University doctoral candidate, Damian Allis received the Foresight Distinguished Student Award for his work in the application of theoretical computational methods to the design and study of molecules and nanostructures, materials for molecular electronics, non-linear optical materials, and molecular building blocks and biomimetic principles.

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Foresight Institute is the leading think tank and public interest organization focused on nanotechnology. Foresight dedicates itself to providing education, policy development, and networking to ensure the beneficial implementation of molecular manufacturing.
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