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‘This is actually a quiet day’

Datum:10 december 2016
Auteur:Riepko Buikema
Ben Feringa and Bert Meijer
Ben Feringa and Bert Meijer

10 December 2016, the big day has arrived. Today Ben Feringa will be presented with the most important award in science by the Swedish King Carl Gustaf. Nervous? ‘Not at all. This is actually a quiet day,’ the Nobel Prizewinner laughs. By that time he has the official rehearsal of the award ceremony behind him, has appeared in a great report by the NOS (Nu heb ik wel genoeg roem vergaard [That’s enough fame for now]), and also brought the just-arrived Minister Jet Bussemaker up to speed.

In the lobby of the ultra-chic Grand Hotel on this historic day there’s even time to reminisce with fellow student and old friend Bert Meijer, currently a professor in Eindhoven. ‘It all started all those years ago in Groningen’, Meijer smiles at his companion. ‘Have you seen Broerstraat 5 yet? It’s dug up a really good photo of me from 1982, with Hans Wijnberg and Kees Hummelen.’

Meijer will soon be one of the fourteen official invitees attending the ceremony that marks the crowning glory of Feringa’s scientific career. He heads off to change. Feringa isn’t changing into his ceremonial outfit yet. ‘I have to get a sandwich or I’ll collapse from lack of sustenance.’

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