BLOG: Sweden's Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
BLOG: Sweden's Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

A Frenchman, a Dutchman and a Scot have won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Local reported live.


13:35 Bye for now!

That concludes our Nobel Prize coverage for today. Read a round-up article of this year's award here. The next Nobel Prize to be announced is the Peace Prize in Oslo on Friday. Follow our sister site The Local Norway for more on that. Our editor Emma Löfgren and reporter Lee Roden will be back on Monday for the Economics Prize. Hope you've enjoyed our live blog!

13:28 'If you’re talking about robots...'

The Local's Lee Roden has spoken to one of the Nobel judges, Jan-Erling Bäckvall of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He gave us such interesting answers that we've turned it into a bonus article for you.

Eight questions you want to ask about the Chemistry Prize

12:56 What is nanotechnology?

Why not let Nobel Prize winner Fraser Stoddart explain:

12:30 Here's a really tiny molecular car

12:23 The world's smallest machines

The winners have been awarded the prize for developing the world's smallest machines.

This is from the Royal Academy of Sciences: "2016's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken molecular systems out of equilibrium's stalemate and into energy-filled states in which their movements can be controlled. In terms of development, the molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors. Molecular machines will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems."

The Local's reporter Lee Roden is trying to speak to one of the Nobel judges to find out more, so don't go anywhere.

12:11 'I'm honoured and emotional'

They're now talking to Bernard L Feringa over the phone. As you can imagine, he's pretty pleased.

12:10 Here's what they did

This year's winners have "developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added".

Here's what the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says: "The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturization of technology can lead to a revolution. The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturized machines and taken chemistry to a new dimension."

12:05 Well done, Scotland

It's a good Nobel week for Scotland. Two Scots shared the Physics Prize yesterday, and J Fraser Stoddart was born in Edinburgh. He now works at Northwestern University in the United States.

French scientist Jean-Pierre Sauvage is based at the University of Strasbourg and Dutch Bernard L Feringa at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

11:55 Oh, we're doing pastries again

The Nobel Committee experts are now explaining the winners' research. And just like yesterday, they're doing it using pretzels.

11:52 Congratulations

The trio, a Scot, Dutchman and Frenchman, will share the award "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines".

11:45 The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to...

... Sir J Fraser Stoddart, Bernard L Feringa and Jean-Pierre Sauvage.

11:35 See? Swedish punctuality.

The announcement will come at 11.45am sharp, as scheduled. No messing around here. This is the Nobel Prize we're talking about.

11:33 Swedish punctuality

11:30 Sharing is caring

The Chemistry Prize has been handed out since 1901. A total of 63 prizes have been given to one Laureate only, 23 shared by two Laureates and 21 shared between three Laureates.

Here's what the statutes of the Nobel Foundation say: "A prize amount may be equally divided between two works, each of which is considered to merit a prize. If a work that is being rewarded has been produced by two or three person, the prize shall be awarded to them jointly. In no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons."

Imagine, if you're a team of four scientists, being the fourth one who gets left out. Like being Michael Collins, the astronaut who was on Apollo 11 but had to stay in orbit and never actually got to walk on the moon.

11:20 Live stream

You can also watch the announcement live below. The winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced at 11.45am. This is Sweden, so we advise you just assume that means 11.45 sharp.

11:15 Who was Alfred Nobel?

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is one of the key awards this week, because Alfred Nobel himself was a chemist. He was also an inventor, engineer and armaments manufacturer who, by the way, is also famous for inventing dynamite. That's not necessarily something you want to brag about, so in his will he also left behind his vast fortune to create the Nobel Prize to be awarded to the best thinkers in academic fields.

"Sorry 'bout that dynamite stuff, guys, but here's some money if you can think of something better."

(that's not an actual quote)

Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel's will. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

11:08 Nobel Prize Perks

If you win the Nobel Prize, not only do you get a neat sum of 8 million kronor ($933,000), you also get invited to go onboard Stockholm's iconic Vasa Ship and get your own portrait. How do I sign up?

11:00 Fun facts for parties

Did you know that the Nobel Prizes can't be awarded posthumously? The rule came into force in 1974. Before that, the Nobel Prize had only been awarded posthumously on two occasions: former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, who won the Peace Prize in 1961, and Swedish poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt, who was awarded the prestigious Literature Prize in 1931. Facts courtesy of the official website of the Nobel Prize.

There have been no posthumous Nobel Prizes in Chemistry.

10:55 Understated Swedish design?

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga vetenskapsakademien) hands out the Nobel Prizes in both Physics and Chemistry, as well as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, usually referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics (but not one of the original awards).

Here's a picture from inside the building.

10:45 Catch up on our Nobel coverage

The Chemistry Prize is the third one to be announced this week, following Physiology or Medicine on Monday and Physics yesterday, which we live blogged too, directly from Stockholm.

The Physics Prize, which went to three US-based British scientists researching topology, was explained by one of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Nobel Committee experts using a cinnamon bun, a bagel and a pretzel. We are curious to see how the judges are planning to top that weird pastry analogy today.

10:30 There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium...

Good morning and welcome to The Local's live coverage of the announcement of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Our reporter Lee Roden is on his way to the press conference in Stockholm and running this blog for you is our editor Emma Löfgren. We'll do our best to keep you entertained and, well, somewhat educated.


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