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Foresight Institute Awards 2019 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology to Qian, Galli; awards presented by Nobelist, Sir Fraser Stoddart.

Foresight Institute, a leading think tank, research, and public interest organization focused on molecular manufacturing and other transformative technologies, announced the winners for the 2019 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes. These are given in two categories, one for Experiment and the other for Theory in nanotechnology/molecular manufacturing.

Established in 1993 and named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, these prestigious 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.

Lulu Qian, Professor of Bioengineering and head of The Qian Lab at the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), received the 2019 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experimental work.

Professor Qian has made major contributions to three areas:

  • molecular robotics, the self-assembly of DNA nanostructures, and biochemical circuits.
  • She has pushed the frontier of molecular robotics by developing DNA robots that autonomously explore DNA surfaces at the nano level, pick up cargo molecules and deliver them.
  • She has pioneered the study of DNA origami tilings for creating nanostructures at the micrometer scale but with nanometer resolution
  • She has built the first artificial neural network out of DNA

Her goal, with members of the Caltech Qien Lab, is to create synthetic molecular programs that approach the complexity and sophistication of life itself.

Giulia Galli, Liew Professor of Electronic Strictures and Simulation, Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, and Head of the Galli Group in the Pritzker Schoo of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago received the 2019 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory.

The contributions of Galli to devising atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems have been two-fold:

  • The invention of novel theoretical and computational methods to predict and design, from first principles, the structural, vibrational and electronic properties of nanostructured materials.
  • The study of specific systems at the nanoscale, with focus on semiconductor nanoparticles and carbon-based systems.

The methods pioneered by Galli include

  • Linear scaling (O(N)) algorithms for electronic structure calculations based on Density Functional Theory (DFT)
  • A novel formulation of many body perturbation theory (MBPT), enabling accurate and efficient calculations of emission and optical spectra of heterogeneous, nanostructured solids and of molecules.
  • The development of innovative strategies and techniques to broaden the scope and applicability of ab-initio molecular dynamics, and of methods traditionally used in solid-state-physics, to nanoscience and nanotechnology.

About the Foresight Institute
The Foresight Institute is a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on transformative future technologies. Founded in 1986, its mission is to discover and promote the upsides, and help avoid the potential drawbacks, of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and similar life-changing developments.

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