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James Fraser Stoddart

J Fraser Stoddart
BornMay 24 1942 (1942-05-24) (age 70)
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
ResidenceUK, U.S.
Fieldsupramolecular chemistry
InstitutionsNorthwestern University, University of California, Los Angeles, Birmingham University
Alma materEdinburgh University
Known forMechanically-interlocked molecular architectures

      Sir James Fraser Stoddart (born May 24, 1942) is a Scottish chemist currently at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In December 2007, he will join the faculty of Northwestern University, one of the world's premier institutes for nanoscience. [1] 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 group has even applied these structures in the fabrication of nanoelectronic devices and NanoElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS). His efforts have been recognized by numerous awards including the 2007 King Faisal International Prize in Science.[2]



Fraser Stoddart was born 24 May 1942 in Edinburgh Scotland. Stoddart received his B.Sc. (1964) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees from Edinburgh University. In 1967, he went to Queen’s University (Canada) as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, and then, in 1970, to Sheffield University as an Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Research Fellow, before joining the academic staff as a Lecturer in Chemistry. He was a Science Research Council Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1978. After spending a sabbatical (1978-81) at the ICI Corporate Laboratory in Runcorn, he returned to Sheffield where he was promoted to a Readership in 1982. He was awarded a DSc degree by Edinburgh in 1980 for his research into stereochemistry beyond the molecule. In 1990, he moved to the Chair of Organic Chemistry at Birmingham University and was Head of the School of Chemistry there (1993-97) before moving to UCLA as the Saul Winstein Professor of Chemistry in 1997. In July 2002, he became the Acting Co-Director of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). In May 2003, he became the Fred Kavli Chair of NanoSystems Sciences and served from then through August 2007 as the Director of the CNSI. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the New Year's Honours December 2006, by the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II.

Research interests

One of his major contributions to the development of mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures has been the establishment of efficient synthesis of these molecules based on the binding of cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene), such as rotaxanes and catenanes. Using dynamic covalent chemistry his group reported the synthesis of the most advanced mechanically-interlocked molecular architecture called molecular Borromean rings. The efficient procedures developed to synthesize these molecular architectures has been applied to the construction of molecular machines that operate based on the movement of the various component. These molecular machines have potential uses as molecular sensor, actuators, amplifiers, and molecular switches and can be controlled chemically, electrically, and optically.

Stoddart has pioneered the use of mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures to create nanomechanical systems. He has demonstrated that such devices can be fabricated using a combination of the bottom-up approach of molecular self-assembly and a top-down approach of lithography and microfabrication.


Stoddart typically places a solid circle in the middle of the aromatic rings of the molecular structures he has reported. He also uses different colors to highlight different parts of the molecules. 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 (blue, for example, is used to represent electron poor recognition units while red is used to represent the corresponding electron rich recognition units). 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.

ISI Ratings

Four of his >750 publications have been cited 500 or more times, eight over 300, 47 over 100, and 138 over 50. He has an h-index of 75. For the period from January 1996 to October 31, 2006, he is ranked by the Institute for Scientific Information as the fourth most cited chemist with a total of 14,293 citations from 316 papers at a frequency of 45.2 citations per paper. During 35 years, >260 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers have been trained in his laboratories, and >60 have subsequently embarked upon independent academic careers. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) also predicted that J Fraser Stoddart was a likely winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with George M. Whitesides and Seiji Shinkai for their contributions to molecular self-assembly. The Prize went to Gerhard Ertl.

Research Keywords

supramolecular chemistry, molecular self-assembly, mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures, catenanes, rotaxanes, molecular Borromean rings, mechanical bond, cyclodextrins, molecular electronics, molecular machines, molecular switches

NAME Stoddart, J Fraser
SHORT DESCRIPTION Scottish chemist
DATE OF BIRTH May 24, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "James_Fraser_Stoddart". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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