There are three winners for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. Scientists James Fraser Stoddart, Bernard Feringa and Jean-Pierre Sauvage, received the title yesterday. Their research on the molecular field and the proposal of tiny machines brought them both the prize and world recognition.
The tiny machines work with energy, and they can operate on items which are only visible under the microscope. No one ventured in the field of developing machines at such small scales. The devices are quite an achievement. One of the examiners in the committee compared the scientists’ work to the importance of the first electric motors.
For decades, James Fraser Stoddart, Bernard Feringa, and Jean-Pierre Sauvage have been experimenting in the molecular field. They intended to come up with a way to control atoms and molecules. Sauvage’s first attempts date back to the early 1980s. Back then, he managed to control mechanically a chain consisting of two molecules. His experiments made one of the molecule move around the other.
Some ten years later, James Fraser Stoddart succeeded in another experiment. He managed to get the molecules copy the movement of a wheel around an axle. This time, he used heat to help him control the movement.
What Bernard Feringa did was combine the previous findings of his colleagues. By doing so, he created a sort of motor prototype. Further improvement shaped the model into a sort of “nano car” with four wheels.
In order to complete their project, the three scientists had to make connections between molecules. As this is no easy task to accomplish, they had to be extremely careful about these links. Their main purpose was to be able to control the molecules as easily as possible.
As far as the implications of the tiny machines are concerned, the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry say that there are multiple options. They think that the tiny machines could be used in the medical field. Minuscule robots could be placed in patients’ organisms and track damaged cells.
Scientists also believe that the tiny machines could be used for producing other materials. They can also be a part of other devices.
The material aspect of winning a Nobel Prize is the equivalent of approximately one million dollars. The three scientists have to divide the money into three equal shares. They are highly enthusiastic about their discovery and are looking forward to seeing it come into force.
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