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Tianjin University national 1000 Talent scholar shares Nobel Prize

( Updated: 2016-10-09 17:24

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart is used to getting awards.

Having helped lead the world in molecular research for more than a quarter century, he has been bestowed with dozens of awards and honors. He was even knighted in 2007 and chosen to be an foreign expert from the "1000 Talent Plan", a Chinese government-initiated global talent program. In 2014, he was given a research role at the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (SPST) of Tianjin University (TJU).

However, nothing could prepare Stoddart for the news he got on Oct 5: he won a Nobel Prize.

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Stoddart, Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Bernard L. Feringa, for the design and synthesis of molecular machines. These microscopic machines have the potential to revolutionize chemistry and the world around us. Stoddart is now applying the concepts for which he won the prize to his research in Tianjin, but what brought the Scottish scientist to TJU?

Stoddart paid his first visit to Tianjin University in March of 2013. He was invited by Jay Steven Siegel, dean of the SPST and the first "dean of foreign origin" at Tianjin University.

"Professor Stoddart was very fond of the academic atmosphere at Tianjin University, so he decided to work here," said Feng Cuiling, Party Secretary of the SPST. "Before he returned to the United States, he called Dean Siegel at the airport, saying he wanted to bring his three 'disciples' to Tianjin University."

With the resources of the SPST to support them, the three young scientists at the core of Stoddart's research team -- Mark A. Olson, Su Jihao, and Luo Jiayan -- have been selected as Young National 1000 Talent Scholars. Currently, Luo works at the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, while Olson and Su work at the SPST to continue research on "supramolecular machines" with Stoddart.

In July 2014, Stoddart was hired as a part-time professor at the SPST. In September 2014, he began to offer courses for students. His laboratory has now been officially put into use, and his team is conducting research.

Tianjin University national 1000 Talent scholar shares Nobel Prize

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology of Tianjin University, attends the donation ceremony of the "Stoddart Fellowship" on March 3.

On March 3, 2016, Stoddart donated 500,000 yuan ($74,979) and set up a "Stoddart Fellowship" to help recruit more talented young scientists to Tianjin University for research into the synthesis of molecular machines.

"People's lives are full of various opportunities to receive and give," Stoddart said, "In the past, I was very lucky to receive a lot and I would also like to have the opportunity to give."

Dean Siegel said he shares Stoddart's view that the students themselves are the most important part of any university.

Tianjin University national 1000 Talent scholar shares Nobel Prize

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart donates 500,000 yuan ($74,979) to establish a fellowship in Tianjin University, on March 3.

As an outstanding scientist in the field of supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology, Stoddart was awarded Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Edinburgh in 1966 and 1980. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has received more than 100 awards, including the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society in 1999 as well as the 2014 Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Stoddart was appointed a Knight Bachelor, by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2007; he also received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science that same year.

Siegel said that the entire community at TJU takes great pride in the announcement by the Nobel committee.

"In 2013, I corresponded with Sir Fraser about our development of an international program at Tianjin University. He took specific interest in our center of Molecular Design and Synthesis. In further recognition of Sir Fraser's incredible purview of molecular science, he joined our international board of advisors and became a principal investigator in our 973 projects. Sir Fraser's contributions to TJU have greatly enhanced the excellence of our program across the board; he has been a motivator and mentor alike."



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