Richard P. Feynman


2000 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology

Nominations due July 31, 2000

Winners of the 2000 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology’s highest honors for the year 2000 have been awarded to researchers at Georgia Tech, HP Labs, and UCLA for major advances in the ability to build useful devices and structures with atomic precision.

Georgia Tech physicist Uzi Landman won this year’s Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Theoretical) for his pioneering work in computational materials science for nanostructures. Such computer modeling provides deep insights into the nature and properties of matter at the nanoscale, and is essential in predicting what could be built at the molecular level, reducing time spent on expensive “wet” lab experiments.

The Experimental Prize went to the multidisciplinary team of chemist R. Stanley Williams and computer scientist Philip Kuekes, both of HP Labs in Palo Alto, along with chemist James Heath of UCLA. They were cited for building a molecular switch, a major step toward their long-term goal of building entire memory chips that are just a hundred nanometers wide, smaller than a bacterium.

The Prizes were given at the 8th Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, held this year in Bethesda, Maryland with a record international turnout of over 400 nanotechnology researchers and funders including numerous venture capital firms, a first for this budding industry.

Uzi Landman
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James Heath
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Uzi Landman (left) receives this year’s Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Theoretical) from Conference Chair Jan Hoh. Photo courtesy of James Ellenbogen.

James Heath shared this year’s Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Experimental). Photo courtesy of James Ellenbogen.
R. Stanley Williams
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Philip Kuekes
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R. Stanley Williams shared this year’s Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Experimental). Photo courtesy of HP Labs. Philip Kuekes shared this year’s Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Experimental). Photo courtesy of HP Labs.

Finalists for the 2000 Feynman Prizes

The following five individuals or teams were selected as Finalists for the 2000 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, Experimental:

The following five individuals or teams were selected as Finalists for the 2000 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, Theoretical:

2000 Feynman Prizes 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 development of molecular nanotechnology. This year again separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work. The prizes will be given at the Eighth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, to be held November 3-5, 2000.

This prize is 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.”

Relevant Research Areas

Research areas considered relevant to molecular nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing include but are not limited to:

  • molecular electronics
  • biochemical molecular engineering
  • scanning probe microscopy
  • supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly
  • materials science
  • mechanosynthesis
  • natural molecular machines
  • artificial molecular machines
  • artificial self replicating systems
  • computational chemistry and molecular modeling
  • computer science
  • mechanical engineering and robotics applications
  • relevant chemical systems (fullerenes, diamond, biomolecules, etc.)

Special consideration will be given to submissions clearly leading toward the construction of a general-purpose molecular assembler. Applicants wishing further information on the field of the prize are referred to the book Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation (Wiley Interscience, 1992).

Selection Committee for the 2000 Prize

A committee of previous Feynman Prize winners has agreed to select this year’s honorees:

Previous Feynman Prize winners

Distinctions between the annually awarded Feynman Prizes and the Feynman Grand Prize

Feynman Prizes
Experimental $5000 Presented for the best
work published in
recent years.
Theoretical $5000
Grand Prize
$250,000 Presented for demonstration
of 50 nanometer 8 bit adder
and 100 nanometer robot arm.

The 2000 Feynman Prize will be the most recent in a series of annually awarded prizes for accomplishment in molecular nanotechnology. Both the annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and the Feynman Grand Prize are sponsored by the Foresight Institute to encourage and accelerate the development of molecular nanotechnology. Both are named in honor of Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman. However, these prizes differ in focus, frequency of award, and scale.

The 2000 and other annual Prizes (originally designated the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology) recognize recent achievements that contribute to the development of nanotechnology. The nature of the achievement is not specified in advance, and the judges choose from among the entries submitted which one most advanced the field during the preceding several years. In contrast, the Grand Prize will be awarded at some undetermined date in the future when someone builds two specified working devices, an accomplishment that will signal a crucial milestone on the road to a mature molecular manufacturing technology.

The annual Prize was awarded in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and now in 2000. It will be awarded every year until the Grand Prize is awarded, at which point the series of annual Prizes will be finished.

The first annual Prize was $5000, the second was $10,000, and since the third the annual Prize has consisted of two prizes of $5,000 each, awarded for separate accomplishments in theoretical and in experimental areas. The Grand Prize will be at least $250,000.

Submission or Nomination Procedures

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

Submissions (and nominations) consist of up to five maximum of the following:

  • an approved thesis or dissertation (bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.)
  • an article published in a refereed journal
  • a paper approved for publication in a refereed journal

In addition, each submission or nomination must include a one-page summary of the work and its relevance to the goal of molecular nanotechnology and/or molecular manufacturing. [If the journal article submitted has multiple authors, the applicant’s (nominee’s) role in the research must be stated.] Summaries may be up to 400 words in length.

Submissions should be mailed to the Foresight Institute at the postal address below, to arrive by July 31, 2000. One copy of the paper or thesis and one copy of the one-page summary are required. The summary must include the applicant’s address, telephone, and (if possible) fax number and email address. In the case of nominations, contact information should be included for both nominator and nominee. Finalists may be contacted for additional information. The prizewinner must be present at the conference to accept the prize.

Applications may also be based upon more than one research paper, up to a maximum of five papers, in which case a copy of each paper should be submitted.

Individual submissions are preferred, but teams of up to three will be considered. Team members may not be changed after the submission deadline.

For further information, contact the Foresight Institute