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About us Profile Prizes and awards Nobel Prize Nobel Prize winner Ben Feringa Life and work

Curriculum vitae of Feringa

Ben Feringa
Ben Feringa

As a boy Feringa wanted to be a farmer. His change of heart has resulted in him being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Ben Feringa grew up in Barger-Compascuum, in the Drenthe Province of the Netherlands as the son of a farmer. Intrigued by the complexities of nature, Feringa became fascinated by chemistry, which enabled him to be creative and invent new worlds. He studied chemistry in Groningen in the internationally renowned research group of Professor Hans Wijnberg, who introduced Feringa to his scientific network, among whom future Nobel Prize winners.

Building his first new molecule

The moment when Feringa made his first own new molecule was life changing. After a short time working as a research scientist at Shell, he returned to the UG to succeed his mentor Wijnberg. Feringa focused on nanotechnology, and in 1999 he developed a ‘molecular motor’: a light-driven rotary molecular motor, known as the nanomotor. This was Feringa’s fundamental breakthrough and a molecular car followed. This year, he has presented a rotary motor driven by chemical energy, making it more suitable to work with inside the human body.


  • 1951 Born in Barger-Compascuum
  • 1974 Chemistry Degree, Groningen
  • 1978 PhD Chemistry, Groningen
  • 1979 Researcher at Shell, Amsterdam
  • 1984 Lecturer Organic Chemistry, Groningen
  • 1988 Professor of Organic Chemistry, Groningen
  • 2003 Director Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
  • 2008 Academy Professor Royal Netherlands Academy of Science
Last modified:03 September 2021 2.10 p.m.
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