3 share Nobel Prize in chemistry for tiniest machines

Dutch scientist Bernard "Ben" Feringa, shown in 2013, was one of the three scientists who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for developing the world's smallest machines. It is nearly impossible to imagine how small the machines are - roughly one thousand times smaller than the width of a strand of human hair.

05 de octubre de 2016, 09:55Stockholm, Oct 5 (Prensa Latina) An global team received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating miniature molecular machines, today announced the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

It all started in 1983 when Sauvage, now a professor emeritus at the University of Strasbourg in France, created a molecular chain-or a catenane-by linking two rings using a copper ion.

Following this Stoddart in 1991 when he threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle, thereby demonstrating that the ring was able to move along the axle. He is a professor in organic chemistry at the University of Gröningen, the Netherlands.

The academy awarded the prize to these three scientists because they were the frontrunners in the second wave of nanotechnology, which had been initially pioneered by physicist Richard Feynman beginning in the 1950s.

"There are not big applications looming up tomorrow", Stoddart, 74, a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who became a USA citizen in 2011, told The Associated Press.

At the press conference announcing the prize, prize committee member Sara Snogerup Linse asked if the audience wanted to see such machines.

The trio's work has "opened this entire field of molecular machinery", he added.

Another application of these machines could be delivering drugs within the human body, for example, by applying them directly to cancer cells.

By building machines and materials with atomic precision, researchers believe they'll create faster computers, lighter spacecraft, and airplane wings so efficient they'll adjust to airflow like a flexible skin.

The Nobel Prizes will be handed out at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896. Last year, Feringa and his researchers used the micro-machines to spin a glass cylinder 10,000 times the size of the motors. British officials have promised to provide more financial support to scientists in the United Kingdom, since they are expected to lose millions in European Union funding.

Apart from the discipline of Chemistry, Japan-born scientist, Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Medicine Award and David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz were mutually honoured for 2016 Nobel Prize in physics.

The chemistry prize was the third of this year's Nobel Prize awards to be announced.

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