Nobel Laureate Fraser Stoddart Visits Fudan

Sir James Fraser Stoddart, 2016 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Professor at Northwestern University, visited Fudan University on March 1, and delivered an academic talk entitled Materials beyond Cyclodextrins: A Double Round of Serendipity.

Sir Stoddart is an outstanding scientist in the area of supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. He has developed highly efficient syntheses of mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures and has demonstrated that these topologies can be employed as molecular switches. His efforts have been recognized by numerous awards and honors including the 2007 King Faisal International Prize in Science and Knight Bachelor in 2006 appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Professor Feringa and Professor Sauvage in 2016 for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

In his talk, Sir Stoddart shared two short stories regarding the study on Cyclodextrin. When studying the interaction between the host and the guest Cyclodextrin, they accidentally observed an interesting phenomenon of crystallization. Inspired by this finding, they applied the crystallized molecules to edible metal-organic frameworks and achieved a breakthrough in molecular architectures. For him, Chemistry is a field full of amazement, and he believes that researchers should have courage to delve into this unknown area.

The meeting was anchored by Professor He Haying, Head of Department of Chemistry. Professor He introduced Stoddart’s academic researches and findings and presented Sir Stoddart the Wu Zhengkai Award in Chemistry. The award, named after Professor Wu Zhengkai, a famous physical chemist and educator, is established to recognize great contribution and excellent academic quality in chemistry.

Sir Stoddart also shared with the audience how he conquered difficulties in his early 20 years of scientific research, “The key of success lies in the ability to overcome difficulties. Life is full of sorrow and suffering..” He encouraged students to “pursue the life you love and live it to the fullest” and “learn how to weather through difficulties”. When asked about the most valuable quality as a scientist, he emphasized that one should be as busy as a bee, as strong as a horse and as thick-skinned as an elephant.