Foresight Institute Awards Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology to Buehler, Simmons

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Foresight Institute, a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on molecular nanotechnology, announced the 2015 winners for the prestigious Feynman Prizes, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, for experiment and theory in nanotechnology.

Prof. Markus J. Buehler, MIT, Feyman Prizewinner - Theory

Prof. Markus J. Buehler, MIT, Feyman Prizewinner - Theory

'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.' - Richard P. Feynman, 1959

Foresight Institute, a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on molecular nanotechnology, announced the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes.

These prestigious prizes, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, are given in two categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in nanotechnology. Prof. Markus J. Buehler, Department Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the Theory Prize. The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental work was awarded to Prof. Michelle Y. Simmons FAA, Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow & Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Quantum Computation and Communications Technology,

Established in 1993, these prizes honor 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 Prizes in Nanotechnology are awards that recognize progress towards the most visionary objectives in nanotechnology,” 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.”

Foresight Institute Feynman Prize – Theory
Research enabling new multiscale paradigms in hierarchical systems

Prof. Markus J. Buehler, Department Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the Theory Prize. Prof. Buehler has made important contributions to making nanotechnology scalable for large-scale materials applications, enabled by bottom-up multiscale computational methods, and linking new manufacturing and characterization methods. Focusing on mechanical properties (especially deformation and failure) and translation from biological materials and structures to bio-inspired synthetic materials, his work led to the development and application of new modeling, design and manufacturing approaches for advanced materials that offer greater resilience and a wide range of controllable properties from the nano- to the macroscale. Buehler's signature achievement is the application of molecular and chemical principles in the analysis of mechanical systems, with the aim to design devices and materials that provide a defined set of functions.

Foresight Institute Feynman Prize – Experimental
Fabricating electronic devices with atomic-precision accuracy

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental work was awarded to Prof. Michelle Y. Simmons, FAA, Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow & Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Quantum Computation and Communications Technology, The University of New South Wales. In the new field of atomic-electronics, which Prof. Simmons has created, she has demonstrated the fabrication of atomic-scale devices in silicon and germanium using the atomic precision of a scanning tunneling microscope. Her group developed the world's first single atom transistor and the thinnest conducting doped wires in silicon. She leads the Atomic-Electronics group and the Precision Qubit Program in the Centre of Excellence dedicated to realizing single atom devices for both classical and quantum computation. In particular, her group aims to position, control and read out the electron spins on individual phosphorous atoms to act as the quantum bit for a scalable quantum computer in silicon.

Northwestern Lands Another Foresight Distinguished Student Award Winner

The Foresight Institute has announced that the winner of the 2015 Distinguished Student Award is Chuyang Cheng, a PhD student with Professor Fraser Stoddart in the Chemistry Department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. This selection marks the second time a graduate student with Professor Stoddart has been chosen for the Foresight Distinguished Student Award in Nanotechnology.

Chuyang's first project in Prof. Stoddart's group involved the design and synthesis of what turned out to be a new class of macrocycles, opening up a new avenue of nanoscience based on large rings, and earning VIP article status from the editor of Chemistry – A European Journal. Introduced to the topic of molecular machines through attendance at the 2013 Foresight Conference: "Illuminating Atomic Precision," Chuyang originated the idea of using the inversion of interactions between viologen and cyclobis (paraquat-p-phenylene) under different redox conditions to make artificial molecular pumps. He was able to drive his system away-from-equilibrium by pumping macrocycles energetically uphill — one of the fundamental requirements for the operation of a molecular motor. This work was published as a communication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

About Foresight Institute
Foresight Institute is a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on transformative future technologies. Founded in 1986, its mission is to discover and promote the upsides, and help avoid the drawbacks, of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and similar life-changing developments.

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