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Featured Nobel prize: molecular machines

  1. Oct 6, 2016 #1


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    Staff: Mentor

    The Nobel prize in chemistry for 2016 has been awarded "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines."

    These are fascinating constructions made up of just a few molecules, so they are the smallest machines possible. It is far from trivial to get these things working, especially since thermal noise is important at that scale (although in some cases, thermal noise can be rectified and serve as a source of energy).

    The popular scientific description can be found here: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2016/popular-chemistryprize2016.pdf

    For a more in-depth description: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2016/advanced-chemistryprize2016.pdf

    P.-S.: As always, Nature had beaten us to it, as there are molecules in living organisms that are basically molecular motors. The most striking example is kinesin, the "walking" molecule fueled by ATP:
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    Congratulations to the three!!!

    Prof. Feringa came to my university last year. Unfortunately, I was not in my country back then and I could not go see his lecture (Interestingly, I was in the Netherlands that time).

    My major is not molecular machines, so I can't really say much about it, but it sure is interesting.
  4. Oct 6, 2016 #3


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    Definitely fascinating subject.
  5. Dec 29, 2016 #4
    Just ran into this thread and it needs to be bumped! Amazing!
  6. Dec 29, 2016 #5
    lol I dont think it is exists, closest I can think of is nanotechnology or MEMS engineering.
  7. Dec 30, 2016 #6
    The video made my mouth open as wide as it can. Literally.

    The thing is we will never catch up with nature. We just follow what it does and try to replicate.
  8. Dec 30, 2016 #7


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    One of the laureates, Ben Feringa, is a professor of "my" university (Groningen, Holland). A very down-to-earth and genuine guy, as far as I know him.
  9. Dec 30, 2016 #8


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    It had my head spinning for days.
    There is a lot of "future science" embedded in this idea, IMHO.
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