1997 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology
sponsored by the Foresight Institute
1997 Feynman Prizes for Theoretical and Experimental
Two prizes in the amount of $5,000 each will be awarded to the researchers
whose recent work has most advanced the development of molecular nanotechnology.
This year separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for
experimental work. The prizes will be given at the Fifth
Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, to be held November
This prize is 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."
Distinctions between the biennially awarded
Feynman Prizes and the Feynman Grand Prize
thesis or refereed paper
at the 1997 Conference.
of 50 nanometer 8 bit adder
and 100 nanometer robot arm.
The 1997 Feynman Prize is the most recent in a series of biennially awarded
prizes for accomplishment in molecular nanotechnology. Both the biennial
Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and the Feynman
Grand Prize are sponsored by the Foresight Institute to encourage and
accelerate the development of molecular nanotechnology. Both are named in
honor of Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman. However, these prizes
differ in focus, frequency of award, and scale.
The 1997 and other biennial Prizes (originally designated the
Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology) recognize recent achievements that contribute
to the development of nanotechnology. The nature of the achievement is not
specified in advance, and the judges choose from among the entries submitted
which one most advanced the field during the preceding several years. In
contrast, the Grand Prize will be awarded at some undetermined date
in the future when someone builds two
specified working devices, an accomplishment that will signal a crucial
milestone on the road to a mature molecular manufacturing technology.
The biennial Prize was awarded in 1993 and 1995, and will be awarded every
odd-numbered year until the Grand Prize is awarded, at which point the series
of biennial Prizes will be finished.
The first biennial Prize was $5000, the second was $10,000, and the third
will consist of two prizes of $5,000 each, awarded for separate accomplishments
in theoretical and in experimental areas. The Grand Prize will be at least
Relevant Research Areas
Research areas considered relevant to molecular nanotechnology and molecular
manufacturing include but are not limited to:
Special consideration will be given to submissions clearly leading toward
the construction of a general-purpose molecular assembler. Applicants wishing
further information on the field of the prize are referred to the book Nanosystems:
Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation (Wiley Interscience,
- supramolecular chemistry and self assembly
- proximal probes (e.g. STM, AFM)
- biochemistry and protein engineering
- computational chemistry and molecular modeling
- natural molecular machines (e.g. flagellar motor, ribosome)
- materials science
Selection Committee for the 1997 Prize
- K. Eric Drexler, Senior Research Fellow,
Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
and Chairman, Foresight Institute
- Carl R. Feynman, computer scientist
A. Goddard III, Chemistry and Applied Physics, Materials
and Molecular Simulation Center, Caltech
Handel, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley
- Jan Hoh,
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Neil Jacobstein, Chairman, Institute
for Molecular Manufacturing; President, Teknowledge, Inc.
Kantrowitz, Dartmouth College, Professor of Engineering, and Advisor,
- Marvin Minsky,
MIT Media Lab and MIT
AI Lab professor, and Advisor, Foresight Institute
Musgrave, Chemical Engineering, Stanford
- Nils Nilsson,
Computer Science Dept., Stanford
- Nadrian C. Seeman,
New York University
- Richard Smalley,
Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology
Whitesides, Dept. of Chemistry, Harvard
Previous Feynman Prize winners
The first Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology was awarded in 1993 at the Third
Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology to Dr.
Charles Musgrave (see the story
in Update 17). An article
describing his prize-winning theoretical work on a hydrogen abstraction
tool for nanotechnology is available on the Web.
The 1995 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology was awarded in 1995 at the Fourth
Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology to Dr.
Nadrian C. Seeman for his pioneering experimental work on the synthesis
of 3-dimensional objects from DNA. This award is described in an article
in Update 23, an article
on Ralph Merkle's Web site, and an article
on the UniSci Web Site.
Submissions consist of one or more of the following:
In addition, each submission must include a one-page summary of the work
and its relevance to the goal of molecular nanotechnology and/or molecular
manufacturing. (If the journal article submitted has multiple authors, the
applicant's role in the research must be stated.) Summaries may be up to
400 words in length.
- an approved thesis or dissertation (bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D.)
- an article published in a refereed journal
- a paper approved for publication in a refereed journal
Submissions should be mailed to the Foresight Institute at the postal address
below, to arrive by August 29, 1997. One copy of the paper
or thesis and five copies of the one-page summary are required. The summary
must include the applicant's address, telephone, and (if possible) fax number
and email address. Finalists may be contacted for additional information.
The prizewinner must be present at the conference
to accept the prize.
Applications may also be based upon more than one research paper, in which
case copies of each paper should be submitted.
Applications will also be accepted on behalf of a group of collaborating
For further information, contact the Foresight Institute at
P.O. Box 61058, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA.
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