Queen Elizabeth II is to confer a knighthood on J. Fraser Stoddart, chemistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The ceremony will take place later this year at Buckingham Palace, in London.
Stoddart, who holds UCLA's Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences and is director of the California NanoSystems Institute, will then be known, in the U.K. at least, as Sir Fraser Stoddart. He joins the ranks of eminent scientists such as Alexander Fleming and Harold W. Kroto who were knighted for their discoveries of penicillin and fullerene, respectively.
Stoddart's knighthood recognizes his pioneering work on the use of molecular recognition and self-assembly to synthesize mechanically interlocked compounds known as catenanes and rotaxanes. He has shown that these "molecular Meccano" systems have the potential for exploitation in information technology, energy production and storage, and biomedical applications.
The knighthood "is a reflection not only of my own achievements but also the considerable support that I have received from my academic colleagues, my students, and above all, my late wife Norma," Stoddart comments. "It also recognizes the significance and relevance of chemistry to everyday life and the international standing of the California NanoSystems Institute at the beginning of 2007."
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1942, Stoddart received a Ph.D. degree from Edinburgh University in 1966. During the 1970s and '80s, he was a lecturer and then a reader in chemistry at the University of Sheffield, in England. From 1990 to 1997, he was professor of organic chemistry at the University of Birmingham, in England. He was then appointed Saul Winstein Professor of Chemistry at UCLA.