Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kavli prize in Nanoscience goes to Don Eigler and Ned Seeman

The $1M along with the 2010, biennial, prestigious (not yet - getting there) Kavli prize in Nanoscience is going to be split by Donald (Don) Eigler and Nadrian (Ned) Seeman. Don is an IBM physicist and Ned is an NYU chemist. The official announcement says the prize was "awarded jointly to US scientists .. for their unprecedented methods to control matter on the nanoscale". Since the award was announced, I'm trying to decode what that really meant. One close argument was that the committee tried really hard to bridge these two guys' excellent research track. Good job!

Here's a question for the birds out there who like to twit:
Is Kavli prize really meant to award significant discoveries or is it merely a tribute to the high achievers?

It was surprising to see the very able committee (hats off to El-Sayed and Alivisatos) coming up with such a below average selection. The first Kavli was forgivable since it was the first and both Louis Brus and Iijima deserved it more than anybody else. But giving them an award together was a mistake. Come on now. There is got to be a taste in it somewhere. Something that says we recognize this "A" field and the pioneer(s) leading it. Stop giving away trophies (or medals) to your well-deserving colleagues.

Now that I cooled off, let's do the list:
2008 - Qdot & Carbon Nanotubes
2010 - STM & DNA Scaffolds
2012 - Hopefully one significant discovery

Let's keep waitin' and twittin'.

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