His name was the third name announced, so tension was high. The chair of the Nobel committee had already said that the prize was for 'the tiniest machine'. And that is exactly where Feringa's expertise lies. At last the suspense was broken when the final name was announced: Bernard L. Feringa.
About 15 minutes after the announcement, the corridor outside Feringa’s second floor office is packed. His entire department appears to be there, most people wearing huge grins. As of today, they work in the lab of a Nobel Laureate.
But the Laureate is nowhere to be seen, at first. He is in his office, talking on the phone to the journalists present at the announcement in Stockholm. When the excitement in the hallway becomes too loud, people hiss ‘quiet!’ so as not to disturb him. And because they are trying to hear -- through the Nobel website on their smartphones -- what Feringa is saying.
The Feringa appears, greeted by a huge cheer and applause. Emeritus professor Jan Engberts, the Nestor of the institute, congratulates Feringa with a short speech: ‘We all hoped for this, and now it has become reality’. Then Ben Feringa himself addresses the crowd: ‘I am deeply honoured’, he says. The emotion is audible in his voice. ‘This is all due to the hard work of all of the clever students and staff here. Thank you so much. I hope that this will help all of you in your future careers.’ Then the door closes again. The phone is ringing off the hook.
Read also: Groningen throws Nobel party for Feringa
Watch the three Chemistry Nobel Lectures.
(all articles available in English):
Two light switches combined in one molecule
Ben Feringa wins Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize
New molecular motor mimics two wheels on an axle
Tuning chemistry with light
New molecular machines are textbook stuff
New chemical reaction greener and less expensive
An antibiotic with an 'on' switch
Cooking up cooler carbon bonds
Nobel Prize Award Ceremony for Ben Feringa
New University of Groningen building named after Nobel Prize laureate Ben Feringa
Looking back on the Nobel lecture: Ben Feringa made an Honorary Citizen of Groningen
Ben Feringa's nanocar on the Grote Markt
Ben Feringa has been appointed Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lio
Surprising finding under the hood of molecular motors
Elektrically powered nano car
On building a nano car
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