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The laureates share the 8 million kronor ($930,000) prize for the “design and synthesis” of molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
The academy said molecular machines “will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.”
The chemistry prize was the last of this year’s science awards. The medicine prize went to a Japanese biologist who discovered the process by which a cell breaks down and recycles content. The physics prize was shared by three British-born scientists for theoretical discoveries that shed light on strange states of matter.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, and the economics and literature awards will be announced next week.
The Nobel Prizes will be handed out at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, wanted his awards to honor achievements that delivered the “greatest benefit to mankind.”