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Richard P. Feynman
(1918-1988)
   

2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

Submissions/nominations were due June 30, 2006

Winners of the 2006 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology

Erik Winfree and Paul W.K. Rothemund

Paul Rothemund congratlated by Jim Von Ehr
Paul Rothemund and Jim Von Ehr

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes are given in two categories, one for experimental work and the other for theory in advances in nanotechnology. Established in 1993, these prizes honor researchers whose recent work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman’s goal for nanotechnology: the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of productive nanosystems. This year’s winning research team, Drs. Erik Winfree and Paul W.K. Rothemund of Caltech, received the prizes in both categories. This is the first time the same research team has received both Foresight Institute Feynman prizes.

Drs. Erik Winfree and Paul W.K. Rothemund from Caltech received the Foresight Feynman Prize in Theory for their "Theory in Molecular Computation and Algorithmic Self-assembly" research. Winfree is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computation & Neural Systems, and Rothemund is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Physics of Information. Their research findings are based on their demonstration of methods for universal computation with DNA, including using DNA tiles to simulate cellular automata. Their work with DNA tiles has led to the field of "Algorithmic Self-assembly", in which computations are embedded in the process of crystal growth. Their work with DNA tiles combines computer science and atomically-precise construction. Algorithmic self-assembly could be a step towards the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.

Drs. Erik Winfree and Paul W.K. Rothemund, also received the Foresight Feynman Prize in Experiment, for their work demonstrating that DNA tiles can be designed to form crystalline nanotubes that exhibit a stiffness greater than the biological protein nanofilament actin. They also established that algorithmic self-assembly could work well enough to generate non-trivial non-periodic patterns. The work Winfree and Rothemund have pioneered leads directly to the production of ever more complicated two-dimensional arrays of nanostructures, an ability on the pathway to "the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems."

2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize Finalists Announced

The 2006 finalists for the Experimental prize:

The 2006 Finalists for the Theory prize:

2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theoretical and Experimental Molecular Nanotechnology

Two prizes in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to the researchers whose recent work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman's goal for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, defined as the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems. Separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work. The winners of this year's prizes will be announced at an Exhibitor's Cocktail Reception on September 27, 2006 at nanoTX '06. Presentations of the winner's research are scheduled for the following day, September 28, 2006, at 10 a.m.

This prize is given in honor of Richard P. Feynman who, in 1959, gave a visionary talk at Caltech in which he said "The problems of chemistry and biology can be greatly helped if our ability to see what we are doing, and to do things on an atomic level, is ultimately developed — a development which I think cannot be avoided."

Selection Committee for the 2006 Prizes

A committee chaired by a previous Feynman Prize recipient will be asked to select this year's honorees.

Distinctions between the annually awarded Feynman Prizes
and the Feynman Grand Prize

Feynman Prizes
2006
Feynman
Prizes
Experimental $10,000 Presented for the best
work published in
recent years.
Theoretical $10,000
Feynman
Grand Prize
$250,000 Presented for demonstration
of 50 nanometer 8 bit adder
and 100 nanometer robot arm.

The 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize will be the most recent in a series of annually awarded prizes for accomplishment in molecular nanotechnology. Both the annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and the Feynman Grand Prize are sponsored by the Foresight Institute to encourage and accelerate the development of molecular nanotechnology. Both are named in honor of Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman. However, these prizes differ in focus, frequency of award, and scale.

  • The 2006 and other annual Prizes (originally designated the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology) recognize recent achievements that contribute to the development of nanotechnology. The nature of the achievement is not specified in advance, and the judges choose from among the entries submitted which one most advanced the field during the preceding several years. In contrast, the Grand Prize will be awarded at some undetermined date in the future when someone builds two specified working devices, an accomplishment that will signal a crucial milestone on the road to a mature molecular manufacturing technology.
  • The annual Prize was awarded in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and now in 2006. It will be awarded every year until the Grand Prize is awarded, at which point the series of annual Prizes will be finished.

Submission or Nomination Procedures

Either submit your own work or nominate a colleague who deserves this prize.

Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes Submission or Nomination Instructions. Nominations were closed June 30, 2006.

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