Award-winning speakers at the summit

PROFESSOR BEN FERINGA
PROFESSOR BEN FERINGA
PROFESSOR TUOMO SUNTOLA
PROFESSOR TUOMO SUNTOLA
PROFESSOR SILVIO MICALI
PROFESSOR SILVIO MICALI

NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY 2016: PROFESSOR BEN FERINGA

The way molecules move is normally governed by chance. But in 1999, Professor Ben Feringa created the first molecular motor, which could be made to spin in only one direction and is used to direct molecular machines' movement. Based on this concept, he created molecule-sized cars that can scoot along a surface, and artificial muscles that flex in response to ultraviolet light.

This opened up new possibilities in chemistry and nanotechnology, earning him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 alongside two other scientists.

MILLENNIUM TECHNOLOGY PRIZE 2018: PROFESSOR TUOMO SUNTOLA

Semiconductors lie at the heart of modern electronics, and are found in solar cells, computer chips, batteries and lasers. But semiconductors would not be possible without Professor Tuomo Suntola's invention.

In 1974, he invented a technique for developing ultra-thin films that measure only a few millionths of a millimetre on any kind of surface. These films include 3D ones that enable highly efficient and tiny semiconductors to be made.

For helping to make our lives "with high-efficiency smartphone, computers and social media possible", Prof Suntola received the biennial Millennium Technology Prize last year, one of the biggest technology awards in the world.

 

TURING AWARD 2012: PROFESSOR SILVIO MICALI

In the early 1980s, Silvio Micali and a fellow computer science student Shafi Goldwasser found the answer to a seemingly trivial question - how can we play poker securely over the phone?

They developed a method to fix the larger problem of how to safely receive and exchange information - encrypting single bits of data by creating a public-key encryption scheme. This revolutionised the field of cryptography. For their contributions, professors Micali and Goldwasser were awarded the Turing Award in 2012 - the highest accolade given to computer scientists.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Award-winning speakers at the summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe