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Clifford Paterson Prize Lecture 2009 by Professor Andrew DeMello, Professor of Chemical Nanosciences, Imperial College London

In 1959, Richard Feynman proposed a variety of new nano-tools including the concept of atom by atom' fabrication. In the intervening decades, many of these predictions have become reality; electronic systems have contracted to sizes close to the molecular level, scanning probe microscopes allow us to image and manipulate individual atoms, and the molecular machinery of living systems is now being more fully understood and harnessed.

However, surprisingly, it is only within the last two decades that the concepts of miniaturization have been seriously applied to chemical and biological problems through the creation of lab-on-a-chip technologies.

Professor de Mello's lecture will assess the current impact of lab-on-a-chip technology in chemistry and biology and ponder future applications in molecular diagnostics, early stage disease discovery and intelligent molecular synthesis.

About the Clifford Paterson Prize lecture:

The General Electric Company Limited endowed the lecture in 1975 in honour of Clifford Paterson. Clifford Copland Paterson FRS undertook the creation of the GEC Research Laboratories in 1919. This followed a career at NPL, Teddington where he became a world expert in the measurement of photometric units. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1942.

The Clifford Paterson Lecture is given annually on any aspect of engineering.

Importantly, the lectureship is now aimed at earlymid career stage scientists, and particularly those working in modern and popular fields such as new media and consumer electronics.