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IBS group leader Bartosz A. Grzybowski, honored with 2016 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology

Chematica, a chemical calculator leads to optimized pathways for completely de novo and fully automated design of syntheses of complex targets

Institute for Basic Science

Bartosz A. Grzybowski, a Group Leader of the Center for Soft and Living Matter at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), a Distinguished Professor at the Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST) in Korea and a Professor of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw will be awarded the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for the theory category in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of research on computer-assisted organic synthesis. The prize is given in two categories of nanotechnology, one for experiment and the other for theory by Foresight Institute, a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on molecular nanotechnology. This prestigious prize was named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman.

Prof. Grzybowski has looked beyond individual nano-objects and their static assemblies to focus on systems that perform desired functions. Applying this systems approach to organic synthesis, he developed a model that, after training on a diverse set of reactions, was able to accurately estimate the yields of organic reactions. Such data-driven analyses of chemical syntheses led to optimized pathways for completely de novo and fully automated design of syntheses of complex targets, culminating in the Chematica expert system to combine vast amounts of chemical knowledge and plan synthesis pathways toward both known and and previously-unexplored targets.

Grzybowski said of receiving the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology:"It is a great pleasure to have been chosen for this award for my scientific contributions and I would like to note the hard work and dedication from my students, postdocs and colleagues that I have been fortunate to collaborate with," and added, "I hope that every chemist planning synthesis uses Chematica as a chemical calculator. Chematica will be a great help for chemists, as it allows them to focus their knowledge and creativity on harder questions by making the synthetic process shorter and way more economical."

Grzybowski's scientific interests include chemical networks and systems, theory of organic synthesis, nanoscience, self-assembly, non-equilibrium chemistries, and reaction-diffusion systems. Recently, Grzybowski's research team reported how to fabricate flexible, water-loving logic circuits and sensors without the need of semiconductors (in Nature Nanotechnology, March 2016). His another paper in Angewandte Chemie (dated May of 2016) presented the first rational design of antibiotics, which foils any attempts to develop resistance. The antibiotics are a group of nanoparticles which selectively kill the bacteria by electrostatic interactions.

Prior to joining IBS, Grzybowski was the Full Professor, Kenneth Burgess Chair in Physical Chemistry and Chemical Systems' Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University from September 2009 to December 31, 2014. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Harvard University in 2000. Grzybowski was honored with Nanoscience Prize in 2013 by the International Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation and Engineering and was named as one of Fellows of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015.

Another distinction, the 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experiment was awarded to Prof. Franz J. Giessibl, Chair, Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Regensburg, Germany for research on tip structure and atomic manipulation in scanning probe microscopy.

Founded in 1986, Foresight Institute's mission is to discover and promote the upsides, and help avoid the drawbacks, of nanotechnology, artificial Intelligence, biotechnology, and similar life-changing developments.


About the Institute for Basic Science (IBS)

IBS is a Korean government-funded research institute that pursues excellence in basic science research. Established in 2011, IBS comprises 26 Research Centers across the nation and is headquartered in Daejeon. Its goal is to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to train the leading scientists of tomorrow.

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