Peter Stang - National Medal of Science

Uploaded by NationalMedals on 03.11.2011

Stang: Nature is the most impressive architect of them all.
Nar: The majesty of Bryce Canyon serves as great inspiration to chemist Peter Stang's molecular designs.
Stang: I use Bryce as an inspiration quite often
I occasionally take members of my research group down there and say "Look around."
"Look at some of these formations and let's think about if we could do
something similar in the laboratory and see if we can make something special."
Nar: Much like a child with a Lego toy set
that Stang neatly builds his molecules one by one by one --
or as he calls it, self-assembly.
Stang: Nature uses self-assembly because it's a very efficient way of building
the molecules that are essential for living organisms.
I make small molecules so that the pieces recognize each other and come
together the right way
to make much more complex molecules.
Nar: Called super molecules,
Stang can now design complex structures with size, shape, and dimension in mind.
Stang: These cages have cavities inside,
into which one can put a guest molecule.
Nar: Stang believes that in the future, the molecular cage will have the ability
to recognize certain tumors.
And on board will be it's traveling companion, the guest molecule, serving as
an anticancer agent.
Stang: I grew up in Hungary until 1956 when the entire family left
Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution,
and we settled in the United States.
Nar: Like many immigrants, English was not Stang's native language.
Yet despite his struggles in those early years, today he serves as editor for the
Journal of the American Chemical Society,
the flagship publication of the organization.
Stang: My office handles approximately 12,000 manuscripts a year. And this has doubled
into the period that i took over
and this simply reflects the richness of chemistry, the depth and breadth of modern chemistry
and the rapid changing of the field and emerging new areas.
This is probably one of the only countries that can take people from anywhere in the world
and then gives them the opportunity to succeed, to develop,
to return something to the country.