Richard P. Feynman


2005 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

Submissions/nominations due July 31, 2005

Winners of the 2005 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology

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

Dr. Christian Joachim, Center Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, France, received the Theory prize for developing theoretical tools and establishing the principles for design of a wide variety of single molecular functional nanomachines. Through an extensive combination of theoretical and experimental work, Dr. Joachim has developed single molecule devices that range from molecular wires to switches to logic gates to wheelbarrows.

A key element in Dr. Joachim’s work has been his introduction of elastic scattering quantum chemistry (ESQC) theory to explain tunneling junctions between metal electrodes and molecules, now a standard for STM image calculations. Dr. Joachim previously shared the 1997 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for Experimental Work for his contribution to pioneering work using scanning probe microscopes to manipulate molecules. The 2005 Prize recognizes his uniquely broad and deep visionary contributions to understanding molecular properties and predicting the behavior of designed single molecule devices.

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experimental work was awarded to Dr. Christian Schafmeister, University of Pittsburgh, for his work in developing a novel technology synthesizing macromolecules of intermediate sizes (between 1000 and 10,000 Daltons) with designed shapes and functions. The technology is derived from solid phase peptide synthesis, but with the crucial difference that adjacent monomers are connected through pairs of bonds, rather than through single peptide bonds, thus forming rigid, spiro-ladder oligomers instead of floppy peptide chains capable of assuming numerous shapes.

As part of this work Dr. Schafmeister developed computer-aided design software to permit designing oligomers with desired shapes. These oligomers can be assembled using automated equipment, chemically modified to add desired chemical functions and to achieve desired solubility, and obtained in high purity. Because the oligomers are large enough to have interesting functions and rigid, designed shapes, they hold great promise as nanoscale parts for future atomically precise nanoscale machines.

Prize Award Banquet

winners of the 2005 Foresight Nanotech Institute prizes
From left to right, Dr. Christian Schafmeister, winner of the Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experimental work, and Dr. Christian Joachim, winner of the Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory, are shown accepting their awards along with Rocky Rawstern, winner of the Foresight Institute Prize in Communication, and Christopher Levins, winner of the Foresight Distinguished Student Award. The winners of the 2005 Foresight Nanotech Institute Prizes were announced at the Feynman Award Banquet, held on Wednesday evening, October 26, 2005, at the 13th Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology.

2005 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theoretical and Experimental Molecular Nanotechnology

Two prizes in the amount of $10,000 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. This year again separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work. The prizes will be announced at a gala banquet at the 13th Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology, to be held October 22-27, 2005, at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel.

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 2005 Prize

A committee chaired by a previous Feynman Prize recipient will be asked 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 $10,000 Presented for the best
work published in
recent years.
Theoretical $10,000
Grand Prize
$250,000 Presented for demonstration
of 50 nanometer 8 bit adder
and 100 nanometer robot arm.

The 2005 Foresight Institute 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 2005 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, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and now in 2005. It will be awarded every year until the Grand Prize is awarded, at which point the series of annual Prizes will be finished.

Submission or Nomination Procedures

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

Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes Submission or Nomination Instructions. The Experimental prize application is located here; Theory application is here.