Fraser Stoddart: Mingling Art with Science
Just as an interest in art history and topology took Fraser Stoddart into the molecular world of the Borromean Link so did the chance discovery of the molecular Solomon Link, amongst some Borromeates, take him back into the arena of art history. And so the process goes on and on. One culture feeds off the other in a seamless manner.
Sir James Fraser Stoddart is a Scottish chemist who is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. He works in the area of supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. Stoddart has developed highly efficient syntheses of mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures such as molecular Borromean rings, catenanes and rotaxanes utilizing molecular recognition and molecular self-assembly processes. He has demonstrated that these topologies can be employed as molecular switches and as motor-molecules. His efforts have been recognized by numerous awards including the 2007 King Faisal International Prize in Science.
Fraser Stoddart was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and undertook his higher education in chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, earning a B.S. in 1964, a Ph.D. in 1966, and a Doctor of Science degree in 1980. After his postdoctoral work at Queens University in Ontario, Canada, he was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Sheffield and worked at the Imperial Chemical Industries Corporate Laboratory in Runcorn. In 1990, Stoddart moved to the Englands University of Birmingham, where he was professor of Organic Chemistry, until America beckoned. In 1997, Stoddart joined the University of California, Los Angeles, where he held chairs in Organic Chemistry and NanoSystems Sciences and has served as the director of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the New Years Honours December 2006, by the United Kingdoms Queen Elizabeth II.
Stoddarts work is well known for the distinctive cartoon-style of representation he has developed. He was one of the first researchers to make extensive use of color in chemistry publications and the different colors usually correspond to the different parts of a cartoon representation of the molecule, but are also used to represent specific molecular properties. Stoddart maintains this standardized color scheme across all of his publications and presentations, and his style has been adopted by other researchers reporting molecular machines based on his syntheses.