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Mingling Art with Science

16 August 2018
5.30pm – 7.00pm AEST
Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building
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“I have been a sculptor of matter at the ultimate of size levels that equates with being a chemist – namely, the molecular level… Art, in its many different guises, has fashioned my chemistry.” – Sir Fraser Stoddart

Art and chemistry are intrinsically linked for Sir Fraser Stoddart, 2016 Nobel Laureate and one of the greatest chemists of our time. Sir Fraser is a self-described disciple of Marcellin Berthelot, the French chemist and politician who once stated “Chemistry creates its object. This creative capability, resembling that of art itself, distinguishes it essentially from the natural and historical sciences.” Despite facing formidable challenges, Sir Fraser has derived no end of pleasure from designing and synthesizing molecular compounds containing both classical chemical bonds, and mechanical bonds.

Sir Fraser's presentation will explore some of these intersections between art, chemistry, and science, from graphical representations of mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) and their relevance to defining chemistry's place in today's world, to linking a triptych of Borromean Rings and the Solomon Knot with Frederick McCubbin’s masterpiece, The Pioneer.

A UNSW Sydney event for Sydney Science Festival during National Science Week. Browse our full program.

Headshot of Frank Stoddard

Sir Fraser Stoddart

Sir Fraser Stoddart is one of the leading chemists of our time, jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 along with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Bernard Feringa “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”.

In 2007, Sir Fraser received a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to chemistry and molecular nanotechnology.

Sir Fraser is presently a Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry and head of the Stoddart Mechanostereochemistry Group in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University in Illinois, and has a research laboratory supporting young researchers at Tianjin University in China. Sir Fraser has also accepted a part-time appointment with UNSW Sydney, beginning in 2019.