|Foresight Update 39 - Table of Contents|
Zyvex LLC announced in early October that Dr. Ralph Merkle has joined the company in the newly created position of Principal Fellow. Merkle is a leading figure in the developing field of molecular nanotechnology.
During the past decade, as a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Merkle conducted a number of pioneering theoretical studies into the design and operation of nanotechnology systems. He also collaborated with Dr. K. Eric Drexler of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in detailed design studies of model parts and assemblies for molecular nanotechnology devices. Dr. Merkle remains a member of the Foresight Institute Board of Advisors.
Merkle is also known for co-inventing public key cryptography, winning the Kanellakis Award from the ACM in 1997. He has published a number of important papers on nanotechnology, last year winning the prestigious annual Feynman Prize.
Jim Von Ehr, President & CEO of Zyvex, said "We've known Ralph for several years, and are absolutely thrilled to have a person of his stature join us. His research has pointed to a number of promising mechanisms by which nanotechnology might be achieved, and in conjunction with our excellent research scientists and laboratory, I'm quite confident we'll achieve our nanotechnology goals."
Merkle, commenting on the move, said "Nanotechnology is developing more rapidly than expected. I've been looking for a place where I can get more directly involved in making it happen, and Zyvex has demonstrated their total commitment to that goal. The decision to leave Xerox PARC after ten years was difficult, but the chance to get involved in a serious startup in such a major role was irresistible."
Merkle has spoken about nanotechnology to numerous groups, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the U.S. Congress. He presented his most recent paper, "Molecular building blocks and development strategies for molecular nanotechnology," at the Seventh Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, held October 15-17, 1999 (see lead story).
Zyvex, based in Richardson, Texas, was started in 1997 with the goal of building the key tool for creating molecular nanotechnology, the assembler. The privately held company is engaged in research and development of molecular nanotechnology, concentrating on what it believes to be the three key technologies for the field: mechanochemistry, nanopositioning, and system design.
Note: Merkle's nanotechnology web site, one of the most extensive and informative available on molecular nanotechnology, has moved from its former location on the Xerox PARC servers (at http://nano.xerox.com/nano/). The site will now be hosted by Zyvex at http://www.zyvex.com/nano/
|Foresight Update 39 - Table of Contents|
The 1999 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology were awarded during the Seventh Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology. The 1999 Foresight Distinguished Student Award was also presented during the conference, which was held October 15 -17 in Santa Clara, California.
This year's recipients of the annual Feynman Prizes were Phaedon Avouris of IBM for experimental work, and a team led by William A. Goddard III at Caltech for theoretical work.
Dr. Avouris, of the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, is a leader in the development of carbon nanotubes for potential computing device applications. This work is considered directly on the pathway to molecular-scale computation.
Professor William Goddard, Dr. Tahir Cagin, and Ms. Yue Qi from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California shared the theory prize for their work in modeling the operation of molecular machine designs. Proposed designs for future molecular machine systems can be tested today on powerful supercomputers using sophisticated programs that accurately model the laws of chemistry, giving us a clearer picture both of what works and what does not. Goddard's group, which operates out of the Materials and Process Simulation Center at Caltech, does some of the most advanced modeling possible today.
|1999 Feynman Prize Winners
W.Goddard, T.Cagin,Y.Qi, P.Avouris
The Feynman Prizes include a cash award of $5000 for each winning individual or team. The two prizes are awarded each year to the researchers whose recent work has most advanced the development of molecular nanotechnology.
|1999 Student Award Winner, A.Goel with N.Jacobstein,IMM Chairman|
They are named in honor of the late Nobel Prizewinning physicist Richard Feynman, whose 1959 talk "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" inspired many researchers to pursue the ultimate in miniaturization. In that visionary talk, delivered at Caltech in 1959, Feynman 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 developeda development which I think cannot be avoided."
A committee of previous Feynman Prize winners was invited to select this year's honorees:
Also presented at the conference was the 1999 Foresight Distinguished Student Award. The winner was Anita Goel, an MD/PhD candidate at the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and also a PhD candidate at Harvard's Physics Department. Ms. Goel was selected for her work on using optical and magnetic "tweezers" to probe the real-time single molecule dynamics of motor enzymes "dancing on DNA."
The Foresight Institute Distinguished Student award provides a $1500 grant to the college graduate or undergraduate student whose work is deemed most notable in advancing the development and understanding of nanotechnology. Ms. Goel was chosen as the winner by Neil Jacobstein, Chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, in consultation with the Foresight Board of Directors.
The award, with funds provided this year through the generosity of entrepreneur Jim Von Ehr of Zyvex LLC., and Ravi Pandya of IECommerce Inc., is intended primarily to enable the winning student to attend Foresight Institute's annual Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
Both Dr. Avouris and Ms. Goel were also nominated for the World Technology Awards in Materials, along with Robert A. Freitas Jr, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing (see story).
From Foresight Update 39, originally published 30 December 1999.
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