Build a better mousetrap goes the old saying about how to make it in business. To make it in science, you could take the same advice — but make it really, really small. That’s how to win the 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, anyway, as Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir James Fraser, and Bernard L. Feringa could tell you. They were awarded the prize jointly for the “design and synthesis of molecular machines.”
“Think of tiny robots that the doctors in the future inject in your veins and go to search for a cancer cell.” https://t.co/rZ7JahJot5
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2016
That’s right, the Nobel-winning trio built — among other things — a molecular motor, a molecular lift, a molecular computer chip and a molecular car. When scientists at Rice University assembled a single molecule “car” in 2005, it was noted that the car measured 3-4 nanometers, whereas a human hair measures about 80,000 nanometers in diameter. The nanocar developed by the Nobelists was a similar size, but it actually moves. The award is worth $933,000, which will be shared. These three guys shouldn’t have any problem doing the math.