Nobel Peace Prize

By: Soham Patel and Chris Mei

Recipients of this Year's Prize

What did They do?

Jean Pierre Sauvage

- In 1983, Sauvage and his team interlinked two ring shaped molecules with a mechanical bond.

- Used a copper ion to attract both molecules to allow interlinking. Removed after both molecules were linked.

- Interlinked molecules are the "gears" and were the first step of a molecular machine.

Fraser Stoddart

- In 1991, built a molecular axle, and mechanically attached a ring shaped structure (molecular gear)

- This allows the gear to rotate around the axle, completing the second step towards molecular machine

Ben Feringa

- In 1999, constructed the molecular motor, completing a simple molecular machine.

- Feringa faced a problem to rotate the molecular motor in the same direction because a molecule rotates as many times left as right

- Molecular Motor used two flat chemical structures connected via double bonds, and rotor blades serves as a ratchet to keep the molecule rotating in one direction


- Created a molecular "toolbox", allowing chemists to construct a wide variety of molecular machine.

-By implementing all these structures, one is able to construct a molecular machine (ie: Ben Feringa's nano car.

Why Did They Win?


  • Awarded Prize because innovated a way to create machinery at a molecular level, expanding upon fields of medicine, alternative energy, and electronics.

- Possibly solve energy crisis by providing alternate energy storage of light, water, etc.

- Discovered a way to control molecular movement, contradicting previous knowledge that molecules strive to achieve equilibrium.

Current and Future Effect

- Perform medical surgery at molecular precision, reducing risk of failure.

- Revolutionary effect of technological miniaturization applied to all machines (fans, washing machines, etc.).

- Used in development of sensors and energy storage systems

- Concept car constructed by Ben Feringa, using molecular chassis and motors.


Mechanical Bonds- Bonds found between mechanically interlocked molecules (generally 2+)

Ratchet- Device containing a wheel or bar, allowing motion in one direction only.