Professor Sir James Fraser Stoddart was born in 1942 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at Edinburgh University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Queen’s University in Canada, Imperial Chemical Industries Research Fellow at Sheffield University and a visiting scientist at the ICI Corporate Laboratory in Runcorn; while there he was awarded a D.Sc. by Edinburgh University for his research in stereochemistry. He taught at Shefield and Birmingham Universities, then joined the University of California at Los Angles in 2002 as professor of Chemistry and Acting Co-Director the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). From 2003, he became the Fred Kavli Professor of NanoSystems Sciences and Director of CNSI.
A world authority in mechanical chemistry and nanoscience, Stoddart created a new and promising field of chemistry by introducing mechanical bonds into chemical compounds. Using molecular recognition and self-assembly processes he is able to build mechanically interlocked molecules that can be used as functioning devices after the same style as those found in the living world. These extremely tiny nano-mechanical devices (1 nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter) operate based on the relative movements of molecular components and can be activated chemically, electrically and optically. As such, they hold considerable promise for fabrication and use as switches, sensors, actuators, amplifiers, motors, molecular random access memories, etc. Smaller than a human cell, some of these devices may also have the potential of being used to deliver drugs into cancer cells. Professor Stoddart currently leads a large body of researchers and visiting scientists. During the past 35 years, he mentored more than 280 Ph.D. students and post-doctoral scholars, many of whom are now pursuing successful academic careers of their own. He has published more than 770 papers and delivered over 700 invited lectures worldwide, and is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world.
In addition to King Faisal International Prize for Science, Stoddart’s outstanding achievements in chemistry and molecular nanotechnology were recognized by numerous prizes, honorary degrees, named lectureships and visiting or honorary professorships throughout the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, as well as many international science academies. In 2006, he received the Albert Einstein World Award and at the turn of 2007, he was named Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
Professor Stoddart, has been awarded the prize in the development of a new field in chemistry dealing with nanoscience. He is awarded the Prize for his work in molecular recognition and self-assembly. His introduction of quick and efficient template-directed synthetic routes to mechanically interlocked molecular compounds is of seminal importance. It has changed dramatically the way chemists think about molecular systems and how they can be used in the fabrication of molecular switches and machines such as molecular elevators and shuttles.
Stoddart’s work was cleverly, elegantly and meticulously done, and carries tremendous creativity, originality and innovation