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Biological Chemistry

Kavli Prizes Announced

Awards: Researchers will share $1 million award

by Beth Halford
June 3, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 24

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Credit: Kavli Foundation
Eigler (left), Seeman (right).
Eigler_Seeman.jpg
Credit: Kavli Foundation
Eigler (left), Seeman (right).

Two researchers in the realm of the supersmall will soon have a large bump in funding to continue their studies. Donald M. Eigler, of IBM's Almaden Research Center, in San Jose, Calif., and Nadrian "Ned" C. Seeman, of New York University, will share $1 million as winners of the 2010 Kavli Prize for Nanoscience.

In 1989, with the help of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), Eigler became the first person to pluck a single atom from a surface and move it in a controlled manner. The following year he led the research team that famously spelled "IBM" on a nickel surface with 35 xenon atoms, dragging each atom into position with an STM tip. More recently, Eigler's group developed logic circuits made of carbon dioxide and created the first computer circuit in which all components were of nanometer scale.

Seeman has been described as the "founding father of DNA nanotechnology." He and his research team have used the biological molecule to make DNA cubes, octahedra, knots, walkers, and even a nanofactory in which DNA can transport gold nanoparticles (C&EN, May 17, p. 8).

"Ned and Don are undisputed pioneers in the field of nanoscience," nanotechnolgy expert and Northwestern University chemistry professor J. Fraser Stoddart tells C&EN. "Ned's ingenious use of topology and DNA to make novel nanoconstructs and Don's use of nanotools to create nanomaterials, both with a myriad of potential applications looming large on the horizon, are legendary."

The 2010 Kavli Prize for Neuroscience also recognized molecular research. Thomas Südhof, of Stanford University School of Medicine; Richard Scheller, of Genentech; and James Rothman, of Yale University were given the award "for their work to reveal the precise molecular basis of the transfer of signals between nerve cells in the brain," according to the Kavli Foundation's announcement. These researchers will also share a $1 million prize.

Philanthropist Fred Kavli founded the Kavli Foundation in 2000 to promote excellence in scientific research. This is the second year the foundation has distributed its biannual $1 million prizes, which recognize influential researchers in astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience.

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