Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016
Born: 24 May 1942, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Prize motivation: “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”
Prize share: 1/3
Fraser Stoddart was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied at the University of Edinburgh where he received his PhD in 1966. He has then been working at Queens' University, Kingston, Ontario in Canada, at the University of Sheffield, ICI Corporate Laboratory and University of Birmingham in Great Britain, and at the University of California Los Angeles and Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois in the USA. Fraser Stoddart was married to Norma Stoddart until her death in 2004 and has two children.
We can imagine that the components of the smallest machines could be molecules. For a machine to function, its parts must be able to move relative to each other. Fraser Stoddart has contributed to the development of molecular machines, for example by developing a “rotaxane” in 1991. A ring-shaped molecule was threaded over another molecule that functions like an axle. In the future, molecular machines could be used for new materials, sensors, and energy storage systems.