Bold Business applauds the award of the 2016 Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry to scientists, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, a French coordination chemist working at Strasbourg University, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, a British chemistry professor at Northwestern University and Bernard L. Feringa, a Dutch organic chemist at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. Their work in the field of nanotechnology involving the design of molecular machines offers vast potential for mankind.
The potential for Bold Impact, yet unrealized in a large scale way in everyday life, highlights the challenging journeys great Bold ideas must take.
Dr. Sauvage’s first contribution to the “invisible machine” was in 1983 when he when he linked two ring-shaped molecules to form a chain, called a “catenane.” Until then molecules were viewed as being connected by strong covalent bonds. Sauvage’s chain was linked by a flexible mechanical bond. This mechanical bond set the stage for molecular machines.
In 1991, the NY Times reported on Sir Stoddart’s contribution saying,
“Scientists are beginning to gain the ability to manipulate matter by its most basic components — molecule by molecule and even atom by atom.
That ability, while now very crude, might one day allow people to build almost unimaginably small electronic circuits and machines, producing, for example, a supercomputer invisible to the naked eye. Some futurists even imagine building tiny robots that could travel through the body performing surgery on damaged cells.”1
In 1999 Dr. Feringa’s contribution was the development of a molecular motor; he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction.
This bold idea offers potential in many areas including:
Nano Fish which could be used as guided drug delivery missiles.2
Cyborg Sperm that could solve the “poor swimmer” problem in fertilization.3
Kilobyte rewritable Atomic Memory that could revolutionize data storage.4
Nano technology has made significant contributions already.56 Including OLED TV’s and many health and communication applications. With the 2016 Nobel prize in Chemistry award highlighting advancements in the Nano world, more Bold Actions and investments will likely be made. We applaud the Nobel winners for their work. Additional leadership will be needed to bring these promising Bold Ideas into everyday use in order to have Bold Societal Impacts.