Richard P. Feynman


2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

Submissions/nominations were due August 22, 2016
Winners were announced on October 3, 2016

Foresight Institute Awards Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology to Bartosz A. Grzybowski and Franz J. Giessibl

Presentation of Feynman Prize, Theory to Bartosz A. Grzybowski
Prof. Grzybowski (center) receiving the 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory from Foresight Treasurer & COO Steve Burgess (left) and Foresight President & CEO Julia Bossmann
Presentation of Feynman Prize, Experiment to Franz J. Giessibl
Prof. Giessibl with Julia Bossmann, Foresight President & CEO

Palo Alto, CA – October 3, 2016 – Foresight Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation for world-changing technologies, announced the laureates for the 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes.

Established in 1993, The prestigious Feynman prize was named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman. The prize is given in two categories of nanotechnology, one for experiment and the other for theory. For the past 23 years, it has highlighted 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 productive nanosystems.

“The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in nanotechnology is an award that recognizes progress toward the most visionary objectives in n anotechnology,” said Julia Bossmann, President of Foresight Institute. “Our laureates realize that big innovation is possible on the nanoscale. The prize acknowledges these pioneering scientists and inspires others to follow their lead.”

The 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory was awarded to Prof. Bartosz A. Grzybowski and the prize for Experiment was awarded to Prof. Franz J. Giessibl.

About Foresight Institute Feynman Prize – Theory
Research on computer-assisted organic synthesis

Bartosz A. Grzybowski is a Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Bioengineering in the Department of Chemistry at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea. He is a Group Leader at Korea’s Center for Soft and Living Matter within the Institute for Basic Science, as well as a professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Prof. Grzybowski has looked beyond individual nano-objects and their static assemblies to focus on systems that perform desired functions. Applying this systems approach to organic synthesis, he developed a model that, after training on a diverse set of reactions, was able to accurately estimate the outcomes of organic reactions. Such data-driven analyses of chemical syntheses combined with network theory and Artificial Intelligence algorithms led to optimized pathways for completely de novo and fully automated design of syntheses of complex targets, culminating in the Chematica expert system to combine vast amounts of chemical knowledge and plan synthesis pathways toward both known and previously unexplored targets.

About Foresight Institute Feynman Prize – Experiment
Research on tip structure and atomic manipulation in scanning probe microscopy

Franz J. Giessibl is the Chair of the Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics in the Department of Physics, University of Regensburg, Germany. Prof. Giessibl pioneered major advancements in scanning probe microscopy for imaging and manipulating individual atoms, including the first achievement of atomic resolution by frequency modulation atomic force microscopy, inventing the qPlus sensor-based atomic force microscopy technique, and achieving subatomic resolution and the visualization of individual chemical bonds. Further advances resulted from tips with defined chemical composition and structure, improved understanding of tip-sample interactions, lateral force microscopy, and the combination of force microscopy with scanning tunneling spectroscopy and density functional theory.

2016 Foresight Institute 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 achievement of Feynman’s goal for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, defined as the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems. Synonyms include “atomically precise manufacturing” (APM) and “productive nanosystems”. Separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work.

The winners of this year’s prizes will be announced before October 2016 and invited to accept the prize at the next Foresight workshop, which will be held during October. For each Prize, a travel stipend of up to US$1500 will be provided for one winner (or one member of a winning team) to attend the Workshop and accept the Prize.

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.”

Relevant Research Areas

Research areas considered relevant to APM (e.g., atomically precise manufacturing, molecular manufacturing, productive nanosystems and molecular machine systems) include but are not limited to:

  • artificial molecular machines
  • atomically-precise construction
  • biomolecular machinery
  • computational chemistry and molecular modeling
  • mechanosynthesis
  • nanomechanical engineering
  • nanomanipulation
  • natural molecular machines
  • scanning probes and nanometrology
  • self-assembly
  • self-replicating machines
  • supramolecular chemistry
  • ultra-precision machining

Special consideration will be given to submissions clearly leading toward the construction of productive nanosystems. Applicants wishing further information on the field of the prize are referred to the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems and the book Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation (Wiley Interscience, 1992).

Selection Committee for the 2016 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.