FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 22, 2010

New American Chemical Society Prized Science video focuses on shrinking the computer chip

WASHINGTON, Nov.22, 2010 — The science that helped make today’s smartphones and iPods smaller but more powerful than yesterday’s desktop computers highlights the latest episode in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Prized Science video series.

The new high-definition video, released today, focuses on IBM chemist Robert Miller, winner of the 2010 ACS Award for Chemistry of Materials. Miller developed materials that helped pack more transistors onto each computer chip, those postage stamp-size slivers of silicon that make up the brains of computers and other electronic devices. In doing so, computer chips became smaller, faster, and more powerful — sustaining the rapid miniaturization underpinning the consumer electronics revolution.

It is the third episode in Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. Rich with high-definition graphics and animations, and commentary suitable for classroom use and other audiences of students and non-scientists, the videos are available without charge at the Prized Science website, YouTube, iTunes and on DVD.

ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations, and others to embed links to Prized Science on their websites. An additional episode in the series, which focuses on ACS’ 2010 award recipients, will be issued in December.

“Estimates suggest that more than 30,000 significant prizes ― most for scientific or medical research ― are awarded annually,” noted ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. “For many of them, the spotlight of news media publicity rightly focuses on the recipients. Often lost behind the headlines, is an explanation of how the science honored in the award impacts the everyday lives of people throughout the world. That is Prized Science’s goal, to give greater visibility to the science that won the prize. In doing so, Prized Science strives to give people who may have no special scientific knowledge, the opportunity to watch, listen, and discover how the chemistry behind ACS’ awards transforms life.”

“Shrinking the Computer Chip” joins Prized Science episodes on:

  • “Are We All From Mars?” Featuring Richard Zare, Ph.D., winner of the 2010 Priestley Medal, highest honor bestowed by ACS. Zare is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University. The video highlights Zare’s work on the possibility that life existed on Mars and seeded life on Earth; in developing the technology that helped scientists decode the human genome; and in pioneering efforts to enlist nanoparticles in medicine
  • “Green Gasoline” Featuring Vincent D’Amico, Ph.D., Emiel van Broekhoven, Ph.D., and Juha Jakkula, Ph.D., winners of the ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry. They invented an environmentally friendly process for making a key ingredient of “green gasoline,” a greener motor vehicle fuel.

Scheduled for December is Prized Science episode No. 4:

  • “Taming the Toxic Tides” Featuring Michael Crimmins, Ph.D., winner of the Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products, whose research underpins efforts to develop treatments for a terrible form of food poisoning involving shellfish.

The ACS administers more than 60 national awards to honor accomplishments in chemistry and service to chemistry. The nomination process involves submission of forms, with winners selected by a committee consisting of ACS members who typically are technical experts in the nominee’s specific field of research.

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Credit: American Chemical Society