Richard P. Feynman


2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

Submissions/nominations were due June 30, 2008

Winners of the 2008 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology

The 2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, are given in two categories, one for experimental work and the other for theory in advances in nanotechnology.

“This year we honor major advances in both understanding and building of nanoscale structures,” said Christine Peterson, President of Foresight Institute. “This work moves us forward on the path to systems of complex, atomically-precise molecular machinery.”

Winning in the Experimental category for 2008 is James M. Tour of Rice University for the Synthesis of Nanocars. Prof. Tour has published more than 330 research articles in fields including molecular electronics, chemical self-assembly, carbon nanotube modification and composite formation, and synthesis of molecular motors and nanocars. The synthesis and testing of nanocars and other molecular machines is providing critical insight in investigations of bottom-up molecular manufacturing. His work on nanocars has involved molecular building blocks that include electro- or photoactive functionality, and he has investigated the synergistic effects of combining functional molecular building blocks.

This year’s winner in the Theory category, George C. Schatz of Northwestern University, has made outstanding theoretical contributions to nanofabrication and sensing. Prof. Schatz has published three books and more than 500 journal articles in theoretical and computational chemistry. In particular, he is cited first for sophisticated modeling and optimization of the dip pen nanolithography method of nanofabrication, and second, for his explanation of plasmon effects in metallic nanodots. The impact of this theoretical work on nanofabrication and single molecule sensing and characterization is leading toward molecular machine systems.

2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize Finalists Announced

The 2008 finalists for the Experimental prize are:

  • Anirban Bandyopadhyay, National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan
    “Conceptual platform for operating sixteen molecular machines, simultaneously, instructing 4 billion ways”
  • Chengde Mao, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana USA
    “A General approach to Programmed Self-Assembly of DNA”
  • Niles Pierce, Robert M. Dirks, and Peng Yin, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California USA
    “Programming Dynamic Biomolecular Function”
  • Yoshiaki Sugimoto, Masayuki Abe, and Oscar Custance, National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan
    “Mechanosynthesis, single atom manipulation, and atomic resolution dynamic force microscopy”
  • James M Tour, Rice University, Houston, Texas USA
    “Synthesis of Nanocars”

The 2008 Finalists for the Theory prize are:

  • Raymond Astumian, The University of Maine, Orono, Maine USA
    “Design Principles for Brownian Molecular machines”
  • Chris Ewels, Alexandre Gloter, and Alberto Zobelli, CNRS, France
    “Carving nanomaterials atom by atom using nanoelectron lithography”
  • Robert A Freitas Jr., Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, Palo Alto, California USA
    “Reaction Pathways for Diamond Mechanosynthesis”
  • George Schatz, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois USA
    “Theory/Modeling of Molecular Nanostructure”

2008 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.

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 2008 Prizes

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