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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Molecular machines: the Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded for the miniaturization

Wednesday, 5 October in Stockholm by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the decision to award the Nobel prize in chemistry for the year 2016. Honours three scientists: Frenchman Jean-Pierre Sauvage (Jean-Pierre Sauvage) from the University of Strasbourg, a native of Scotland, sir George. Fraser Stoddart (Sir J. Fraser Stoddart) from northwestern University (Illinois, USA) and Bernard L. Feringa (Bernard L. Feringa), University of Groningen (Netherlands).

photo: AP

The wording on the award reads: “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.” This year’s winners contributed to the miniaturization of technology that can have a revolutionary impact. Sauvage, Stoddart and Feringa not only miniaturizzati machine, but also gave chemistry a new dimension.

As stated in the press release the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the first step to a molecular machine Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage made in 1983, when he successfully joined the two ring-shaped molecules together, forming a circuit known as catenin. Usually the molecules are strong covalent bonds in which atoms share electrons, but in this circuit they are connected to a more free mechanical contact. Allow the machine to perform a task, it is necessary that it consisted of parts that can move relative to each other. Two connected rings fully comply with this requirement.

The second step was made by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed rotaksan (view of the molecular structure). He slipped the molecular ring in thin molecular axis, and showed that this ring can move along the axis. Rotaxane based on such developments as molecular Elevator, the molecular muscle based on a molecule of a computer chip.

Bernard Feringa was the first man who developed a molecular motor. In 1999, he received a molecular rotor arm, rotating constantly in one direction. Using molecular motors, it rotated glass cylinder, which was 10 thousand times more than the motor, also, the scientist has developed nanoker.

Interestingly, the winners of the 2016 is not particularly “light” in various lists of favorites that appear every year in anticipation of the “Nobel week”.

Among those who this year the media predicted the prize in chemistry, for example, George M. Church and Feng Zhang (both work in the US) – for the use of genome editing CRISPR-cas9 in human cells and mice.

In the lists of favorites featured scientist from Hong Kong’s Dennis Lo (Dennis Lo Ukmin) for the discovery of cell-free fetal DNA in plasma materinskoy, which has revolutionized non-invasive prenatal testing.

Was called and the names of Japanese scientists Hiroshi Maeda and Yasuhiro Matsumura (for the discovery of the effect of the increased permeability and detention of the macromolecular drugs, which is a key finding for cancer treatment).

Some sources were to be found the name of the chemist Alexander Calm, born in Moscow, but after moving his family to America, living and working in the United States. It is called “a rising star of chemistry.” By the way, the only Soviet Nobel prize in chemistry was academician Nikolay Semenov in 1956 for the development of the theory of chain reactions. Most among the recipients of this prize are scientists from the United States. On the second place – German scientists, the third – British.

The prize in chemistry may be called “the most Nobel of the Nobel prize”. After all, the man who founded the award, Alfred Nobel was the chemist and the Periodic system of chemical elements near mendelevium is the nobelium.

The decision to award this award takes the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. From 1901 (when the first award in the field of chemistry was the Dutchman Jakob Hendrik Vant-Goff) at the 2015 Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded 107 times. Unlike similar awards in physics, or medicine, it is often awarded to one winner (in 63 cases), but not multiple at once. However, only four women have become laureates in chemistry – among them Marie Curie, who had also Nobel prize in physics, and her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie. The only person who received a chemical “Nobel” twice, became Frederick Sanger (1958 and 1980).

The young was awarded a 35-year-old Frederic Joliot, received the award in 1935. And the oldest was John B. Fenn, who is Nobel award “caught” at the age of 85 years.

Last year Nobel laureates in chemistry have become Tomas Lindahl (UK) and two scientists from the United States – Gender Modric and Aziz Sancar (a native of Turkey). The award was presented to them for “mechanical studies of DNA repair”.


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