Established in 1993 in honor of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, two $5,000 prizes are awarded in two categories, theory and experiment, to recognize researchers whose recent work has most advanced the field toward the achievement of Feynman’s vision for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.
The winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Experimental work is the team of Yoshiaki Sugimoto, Masayuki Abe (Osaka University), and Oscar Custance (National Institute for Materials Science, Japan), in recognition of their pioneering experimental demonstrations of mechanosynthesis, specifically the use of atomic resolution dynamic force microscopy — also known as non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) — for vertical and lateral manipulation of single atoms on semiconductor surfaces. Their work, published in Nature, Science, and other prestigious scientific journals, has demonstrated a level of control over the ability to identify and position atoms on surfaces at room temperature which opens up new possibilities for the manufacture of atomically precise structures. The prize was accepted in person by Drs. Abe and Custance at the January Foresight 2010 conference.
The winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Theory is Robert A. Freitas Jr. (IMM), in recognition of his pioneering theoretical work in mechanosynthesis in which he proposed specific molecular tools and analyzed them using ab initio quantum chemistry to validate their ability to build complex molecular structures. This Prize also recognizes his previous work in systems design of molecular machines, including replicating molecular manufacturing systems which should eventually be able to make large atomically precise products economically and the design of medical nanodevices which should eventually revolutionize medicine. The prize was accepted in person by Robert Freitas at the Foresight 2010 conference.
The Foresight Institute Prize in Communication recognizes outstanding journalistic or other communication endeavors that lead to a better public understanding of advanced nanotechnology. By offering this Prize, Foresight hopes to encourage continued responsible coverage of nanotechnology as a means for engaging the public in dialogue leading to improved public policy on these important issues. The winner for 2009 was the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, accepted by Michael Anissimov at the January 2010 conference.
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