70th Birthday: Ben Feringa

70th Birthday: Ben Feringa

Author: ChemistryViews

Professor Ben Feringa, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, celebrates his 70th birthday on May 18, 2021.

Ben Feringa’s work focuses on organic synthesis, molecular switches and synthetic motors, self-assembly of molecular nanosystems, asymmetric catalysis, and stereoselective synthesis methods. In 1999, he made a highly acclaimed breakthrough with the development of a light-driven molecular motor. Since then, much of his research has focused on dynamic molecular systems. In 2016, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Jean-Pierre Sauvage, University of Strasbourg, France, and Sir Fraser Stoddart, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA, “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”.


Ben Feringa studied chemistry at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1978 for research supervised by Hans Wynberg. After working as a Research Scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and the UK, he returned to the University of Groningen as a Lecturer. In 1988, he was promoted to Full Professor of organic chemistry and in 2003, Feringa was named the Jacobus H. van’t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences at the same university.

Among the Nobel Prize and many others honors, Ben Feringa’s research has been recognized with the Spinoza Award (the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands), the Prelog Gold Medal in 2005, the Paracelsus Medal in 2008, RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award in 2011, the Nagoya Gold Medal in 2013, and the August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal of the GDCh (German Chemical Society) in 2016. Ben Feringa is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society, a Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany. He also is a Fellow of Chemistry Europe. In 2008, he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands.

Selected Publications

Also of Interest

  • Video: Ben L. Feringa,
    Mario Müller,
    ChemistryViews 2017.
    Teaser for Ben L. Feringa’s lecture at the Angewandte Festsymposium
  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016,
    ChemistryViews 2016.
    J.-P. Sauvage, Sir J. F. Stoddart, and B. L. Feringa awarded for the design and synthesis of molecular machines
  • August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal for Ben Feringa,
    ChemistryViews 2016.
    Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, German Chemical Society) honors outstanding achievements in chemistry
  • Video: Discover Chemistry Europe
    Chemistry Europe 2020
    Prof. Dr. Feringa talks about the importance of society publishing




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