Sir Fraser Stoddart
Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry, has accomplished big things in a field that works on an extremely small scale. A pioneer in the fields of organic chemistry and molecular nanotechology, Stoddart’s research is performed on a scale that ranges from 1 nanometer (one-billionth of a meter) to a few hundred nanometers.
Yet, its potential is staggering. Stoddart was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of a “rotaxane” a tiny molecular machine that can perform a task when energy is added. In his long career, Stoddart has also designed nanovalves small enough to cross cell membranes; these are now being adapted to deliver drugs to treat cancer and other diseases.
By introducing the mechanical bond into chemical compounds; Stoddart has helped open up a new field of chemistry that has changed the way chemists make soft materials. It has led to the fabrication of artificial molecular switches and motors, and promises big advances in fields of information technology and healthcare.
At Northwestern, Stoddart is the director of the Center for the Chemistry of Integrated Systems. The center brings together experts from science and engineering for work in this new field. "Northwestern is a special place, where everyone does science in a collaborative way,” said Stoddart. "If you don’t have the expertise, you can find it, and people step forward without being asked. It is well known that we hunt in packs at Northwestern.”