Nobel laureate to speak on campus


Special to the Prospector

Jake Deven, Contributor

The UTEP Centennial Lecture Series returns with a free public lecture on Feb. 1, with Sir Fraser Stoddart, a Nobel laureate and professor of chemistry at Northwestern University.

Stoddart won Nobel Prize in Chemistry in December 2016, along with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Ben Feringa for the development and design of molecular machines.

Stoddart’s lecture, “My Journey to Stockholm,” will be aimed toward a more general public and will focus on the interest of scientific research.

“[His lecture] is a unique opportunity. He’s a spectacular speaker, so he will certainly motivate people and get them to think,” said Luis Echegoyen, a professor of chemistry at UTEP.

Echegoyen worked with Stoddart in the late 1980s when they worked in the field of supramolecular chemistry. In addition to their work in the ’80s, the pair, along with another colleague, François Diederich, published three research articles together in the ’90s.

Stoddart helped develop a “rotaxane,” which is a ring-shaped molecule threaded over another molecule that functions like an axle, in 1991. In the future, molecular machines could be used for new materials, sensors and energy storage systems, according to the Nobel Prize press release.

In 2007, Stoddart was made a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to chemistry and molecular nanotechnology. Stoddart’s awards include the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in Nanotechnology, the King Faisal International Prize for Science, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


“I hope students take the message of how important fundamental research is and not only the importance of generating new knowledge, but how doing fundamental research is a lot of fun and very beautiful,” said Echegoyen.

The lecture is free to the public and will be at 4 p.m. at the Undergraduate Learning Center, room 106. Light food and refreshments will be provided.