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In this Oct. 2014 photo,  provided by the University of Strasbourg (Unistra)  Nobel laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage speaks during an interview in Strasbourg, eastern France.

The Nobel Prize for chemistry went to the makers of the world's smallest machines


The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to the makers of molecular machines, which could have huge implications for computers and batteries.

Frenchman Jean-Pierre Sauvage, British-born Fraser Stoddart and Dutch scientist Bernard "Ben" Feringa earned the prize jointly on Wednesday. Their most famous creation was a "nanocar," a tiny molecular vehicle.

These molecular machines are microscopic, some even one-thousandth the width of a human hair. Smaller machines allows for smaller, and thus faster, computer chips.

nanocar rice.jpg
A "nanocar" built by Rice University students. (Rice University)

Here's what a nanocar looks like. This one was made by Rice University students and consists of only about 100 atoms.

The Nobel Prize is... the most prestigious prize, the one most scientists don't even dare to dream of in their wildest dreams.
Jean-Pierre Sauvage

The winners were emotional about their victory.

There's still a ways to go to improve molecular machines. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said they're at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1930s.

Children are going to love it. They're the scientists of tomorrow.
Donna Nelson

The scientists made their first breakthrough in 1983, but the first molecular motor wasn't completed until 1999.

This award stands out for the interest it should spark in young scientists, said Donna Nelson, president of the American Chemical Society.

More Nobels!

The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, and the economics and literature awards will be announced next week.

The Nobel Prize in medicine went to a scientist who made discoveries in "autophagy," or how cells break themselves down and rebuild.

The Nobel Prize in physics went to three British scientists who led advancements in "strange matter" through topology.

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