In 2003, there was a paper published which looked like it was going to be a good candidate for the Ig Nobel Prize. It was “Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules: The NanoPutians” by Professor James Tour, a chemistry professor at Rice University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. The word “NanoPutian” is a portmanteau of “nano”, which means a billionth and the “Lilliputian” from the novel Gulliver’s Travels.
The Tour group designed and synthesized a number of human-shaped organic molecules in this paper. Shown in Figure 1 is a molecule named NanoKid, which was chosen by the group as a basic skeleton. The 3-D model looks like the figure on the right and the structural formula used by chemists is shown on the left. The structural formula might look more human, since the oxygen atoms look kind of like the eyes.
The functional group used for the head part of NanoKid is called acetal. This group is easily exchangeable to make NanoPutians of various occupations (Figure 2). Let’s not be too picky about the bond angles of NanoMonarch and NanoTexan.
"Наука и жизнь" дополняет перечень возможных нанопутиков ещё "наношкольником, нанопрофессором или даже нанопрезидентом". (2013, № 1, С. 86)