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The evidence of technology’s bold and relentless march into the future is all around us, so far ingrained into our everyday lives that in these enlightened times it would almost be unimaginable to live without an electrical device nestled in the palms of our hands, and the entire collective knowledge of humanity at our fingertips.
In the latest instance of today shifting into tomorrow, “molecular machines”, machine components so tiny that they function on a molecular level.
These structures, which are measured in nanometres, are able to convert chemical energy into mechanical forces and motion, allowing the scientists who operate them to perform functions that would have otherwise been too minuscule to manage.
Jean-Pierre Sauvage, of France, Bernard L Feringa, of the Netherlands, and Scotland’s Sir J Fraser Stoddart, will share the 8m Kronor (€833,000) prize, and join a highly esteemed list of Chemistry laureates. They were named together at a press conference in Sweden yesterday.
Their addition will bring the total number of Chemistry Nobel Prize winners up to only 175, since the Prize’s conception in 1901. Alfred Nobel, the creator and benefactor of the prize, which shares his name, was himself a chemist.