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1997 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology

sponsored by the Foresight Institute

1997 Feynman Prizes for Theoretical and Experimental Molecular Nanotechnology

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 5-8, 1997.

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

Feynman Prizes
Experimental$5000Presented to the best
thesis or refereed paper
at the 1997 Conference.
Grand Prize
$250,000Presented for demonstration
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 $250,000.

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, 1992).

Selection Committee for the 1997 Prize

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.

Submission Procedures

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.

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 workers.

For further information, contact the Foresight Institute at
P.O. Box 61058, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA.
Tel 415-324-2490,
Fax 415-324-2497,
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