Feynman Prize in nanotechnology won by Georgia Tech, HP Labs, UCLA

November 12, 2000

Huge payoffs expected from building at molecular level

Palo Alto, California -- Nanotechnology's highest honors for the year 2000 have been awarded to researchers at Georgia Tech, HP Labs, and UCLA for major advances in the ability to build useful devices and structures with atomic precision. Two prizes are given annually, one for theoretical work and one for experimental achievement.

Georgia Tech physicist Uzi Landman won this year's Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Theoretical) for his pioneering work in computational materials science for nanostructures. Such computer modeling provides deep insights into the nature and properties of matter at the nanoscale, and is essential in predicting what could be built at the molecular level, reducing time spent on expensive "wet" lab experiments.

The Experimental Prize went to the multidisciplinary team of chemist R. Stanley Williams and computer scientist Philip Kuekes, both of HP Labs in Palo Alto, along with chemist James Heath of UCLA. They were cited for building a molecular switch, a major step toward their long-term goal of building entire memory chips that are just a hundred nanometers wide, smaller than a bacterium.

The prizes were given at the 8th Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, held this year in Bethesda, Maryland with a record international turnout of over 400 nanotechnology researchers and funders including numerous venture capital firms, a first for this budding industry.

Foresight chairman Eric Drexler commented, "We're seeing the start of a ramp-up in nanotechnology funding, from both public and private sources. The technical path is immensely challenging but should yield tremendous long-term payoffs in medicine, transportation, and the environment."

The Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology is named in honor of the late Nobel physicist Richard Feynman, whose visionary talk in 1959 continues to inspire today's nanotechnology R&D community.

Also awarded was the first Foresight Prize in Communication, going to Senior Correspondent Ron Dagani of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Harvard graduate student Christopher Love took top student honors this year, winning the Foresight Distinguished Student Award for his work in architectures for molecular electronic computers and nanomanipulation of structures on surfaces.
Relevant URLs:
Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology http://www.foresight.org/FI/2000Feynman.html
Foresight Conference in Nanotechnology http://www.foresight.org/conference/MNT8
Uzi Landman http://www.physics.gatech.edu/people/faculty/ulandman.html
Williams/Kuekes http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/molecules_that_compute.html
James Heath http://www.chem.ucla.edu/dept/Faculty/heath/
Feynman's 1959 talk http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html
Ron Dagani http://pubs.acs.org/cen/staff/biord.html
Chris Love http://www.mitre.org/technology/nanotech/MITREnano_group.html

For further information and photos, contact:
Foresight Institute, Christine Peterson, (650) 917-1122
Georgia Tech, John Toon, (404) 894-6986
HP Labs, Dave Berman, (650) 857-7277
UCLA, Harlan Lebo, (310) 206-0510

Georgia Institute of Technology

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