Nanotechnology Lecture


Making the tiniest machines

by Professor David Leigh FRS

Professor David Leigh FRS is Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Manchester.

Over the past few years some of the first examples of synthetic molecular level machines and motors — all be they primitive by biological standards —have been developed. These molecules respond to light, chemical and electrical stimuli, inducing motion of components held together by hydrogen bonding or other weak molecular interactions.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the technological potential of controlled molecular-level motion is to recognise that nanomotors and molecular-level machines lie at the heart of every significant biological process. Over billions of years of evolution Nature has not repeatedly chosen this solution for achieving complex task performance without good reason. In stark contrast to biology, none of mankind’s fantastic myriad of present day technologies exploit controlled molecular-level motion in any way at all: every catalyst, every material, every polymer, every pharmaceutical, every chemical reagent, all function exclusively through their static or equilibrium dynamic properties. When we learn how to build artificial structures that can control and exploit molecular level motion, and interface their effects directly with other molecular-level substructures and the outside world, it will potentially impact on every aspect of functional molecule and materials design. An improved understanding of physics and biology will surely follow.

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Booking and cost

The event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required.

Geek Chic costs: Your first two events with Geek Chic are free to attend. Thereafter, membership is £15 a year. You can pay by Paypal (on the left here) or pay your Host in cash at any Meetup.

Meeting up

Doors open at 6.00pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. We'll be in the foyer from 6pm onwards, but will probably go in at about 6.15pm. If we don't find you, please meet back in the foyer afterwards at 7.30pm.

Drinks afterwards

The lecture is only an hour and afterwards we'll adjourn to The Lord Moon of the Mall (, which is 7 minutes walk away - on Whitehall opposite the pub we normally go because I've been told it's bigger and being a Weatherspoons, cheaper too. If you didn't make the Talk, we'll be at the pub from about 7.45pm.

The Lord Moon of the Mall ( - 16-18 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY.