Nadrian C. Seeman was born in Chicago in 1945. Following a BS in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, he received his Ph.D. in biological crystallography from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. His postdoctoral training, at Columbia and MIT, emphasized nucleic acid crystallography. He obtained his first independent position at SUNY/Albany, where his frustrations with the macromolecular crystallization experiment led him to the campus pub one day in the fall of 1980. There, he realized that the similarity between 6-arm DNA branched junctions and the flying fish in the periodic array of Escher's 'Depth' might lead to a rational approach to the organization of matter on the nanometer scale, particularly crystallization.
Ever since, he has been trying to implement this approach and its spin-offs, such as nanorobotics and the organization of nanoelectronics; since 1988 he has worked at New York University, where he is the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Chemistry. When told in the mid-1980's that he was doing nanotechnology, his response was similar to that of M. Jourdain, the title character of Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who was delighted to discover that he had been speaking prose all his life. He was the founding president of the International Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation and Engineering. He has published over 250 papers, and has won the Sidhu Award, the Feynman Prize, the Emerging Technologies Award, the Tulip Award in DNA Computing, the World Technology Network Award in Biotechnology, the NYACS Nichols Medal, the SCC Frontiers of Science Award, the ISNSCE Award and the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.Additionnal information is available here.