The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was equally shared by Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L Feringa, three scientists who worked on the design and production of “molecular machines.”
After Sauvage linked two tiny rings to create a molecular chain, or “catenane,” in 1983, Fraser Stoddart designed a “rotaxane,” or a ring on an axel and, Feringa designed the first molecular motor by making a motor blade spin in one direction.
The gist of the scientists’ work—the molecular machines are designed molecules with parts producing movements when energy is added. If biology produces molecular machines, these machines power our organs and allow our bodies to function. Since the 1950s scientists have dreamed of making a body part that could function at a nanometer scale.
If it was French scientist Jean-Pierre Sauvage of the University of Strasbourg, J Fraser Stoddart of Northwestern University in the US and Dutch Bernard L Feringa at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, two Scots earned the Nobel Prize for Physics on October 4.
The Nobel Committee experts are now explaining the winners’ research. And like yesterday, they’re doing it for pretzels. This year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry winners include a Scot, a Dutchman and Frenchman, will share the award “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”.