'Not very smart' Nobel prize winner pokes fun at Trump

Fraser Stoddart says after winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, he wants to 'give back'. Picture / AP
Fraser Stoddart says after winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, he wants to 'give back'. Picture / AP

The Scottish-born winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry yesterday took a jab at United States presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has bragged that he was "smart" to avoid paying taxes.

"I am not very smart. The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] will run off with a third of it," said Northwestern University professor Fraser Stoddart, referring to his portion of the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.3m) award, which he shares with Jean-Pierre Sauvage of France and Bernard Feringa of the Netherlands. "Did you all get that? I'm not very smart," Stoddart added, to laughter and applause during a champagne-fuelled press conference to celebrate the Nobel win.

Trump, the Republican nominee for US president, has refused to release his tax returns.

In the first presidential debate on September 26, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton suggested that Trump is hiding "something terrible", and suggested that he had not paid any federal income tax.

Trump's answer: "That makes me smart."

Days later, the New York Times published a bombshell based on a leaked copy of his 1995 tax documents, showing he declared a loss of nearly US$1b ($1.4b), and could likely have avoided paying taxes for almost two decades.

Stoddart, who said he has lived in the US for 20 years, did not press any deeper into politics, but said he wants to use whatever is left of his prize money to help others.

"One of the things that drives academia in this country is philanthropy," said Stoddart. "What I want to do, of course, is give back."

Stoddart, Sauvage and Feringa won for developing the world's smallest molecular machines, which may some day have uses in cancer treatment, robotics and prosthetics.

Stoddart described their work as "a fundamental advance in chemistry" that will take some time before it translates into real-life applications.


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