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Feringa, Prof. Ben

Ben Feringa
Ben Feringa


Nanotechnology, synthetic organic chemistry

Curriculum Vitae

Ben Feringa (1951) has been professor of Organic Chemistry since 1988. He is one of the best scientists of our time, both within the Netherlands and worldwide. His research performance is so exceptional that he is generally regarded as one of the world’s most creative and productive chemists. He has achieved breakthroughs in various fields of chemistry, including organic synthesis, catalysis, supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology.

His discovery in 1999 of the ‘molecular motor’, a light-driven rotating molecule, is widely recognized as a world-class breakthrough. The potential applications of this concept are as numerous as they are spectacular. The idea that molecular motors can transport themselves through the bloodstream in order to deliver drugs to previously unreachable locations in the human body with a high degree of accuracy is particularly inspiring. It is partly thanks to Feringa that the University of Groningen is undisputedly Europe’s number one in the field of chemistry.

Feringa has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2004 Spinoza Prize, the highest Dutch prize in science, awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2008 the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) appointed Feringa Academy Professor, giving him the opportunity to concentrate on whatever he wanted in the field of innovative teaching and research for five years. Feringa is the Vice President of the KNAW also. In 2011 he received the Van 't Hoff medal. This is awarded once every ten years by the University of Amsterdam for work in the field of chemistry. In May 2013 he was awarded a TOP grant of EUR 780,000 by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The grant is for his research on molecular motors.

In 2013 Feringa was awarded the Lilly European Distinguished Science Award, followed by the Marie Curie Medal, the highest honor awarded annually by the Polish Chemical Society for chemist working outside Poland. Also in 2013 he was awarded two important Japanese prizes, in 2014 followed by the prestigious Cope Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society. In november 2015 he received the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize.


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Last modified:November 24, 2015 09:59