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On a day like today, Nobel Prize laureate Alan MacDiarmid was born
April 14, 1927. Alan Graham MacDiarmid (14 April 1927 - 7 February 2007) was a New Zealand-born American chemist, and one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000. His best-known research was the discovery and development of conductive polymers---plastic materials that conduct electricity. He collaborated with the Japanese chemist Hideki Shirakawa and the American physicist Alan Heeger in this research and published the first results in 1977. The three of them shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work. The work progressed to yield important practical applications. Conductive plastics can be used for anti-static substances for photographic film and 'smart' windows that can exclude sunlight. Semi-conductive polymers have been applied in light-emitting diodes, solar cells and displays in mobile telephones. Future developments in molecular electronics are predicted to dramatically increase the speed while reducing the size of computers.


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