Roeland Nolte (1944 – 2024)

Roeland Nolte (1944 – 2024)

Author: ChemistryViews (Photo: Dick van Aalst, Radboud Universiteit, wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Roeland Nolte, Professor Emeritus, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, passed away on February 15, 2024. He is described by his university as “was an amiable and warm person. He was widely praised by his colleagues in science as a true gentleman, a role model and a good friend. Like no other he knew how to inspire and motivate people in his group, by giving them confidence and space to develop themselves as scientists.” [1]

Roeland Nolte is known for his wide-ranging and pioneering work in supramolecular chemistry. He has worked on the design and synthesis of novel chemical structures using non-covalent interactions. His research included supramolecular assembly, biomimetic catalysis, and nanostructures with applications in nanomaterials and medicine. In particular, he discovered atropisomeric polymers with stable helical structures and investigated their formation mechanism. His work extended to polyisocyanide derivatives with unique properties such as strain stiffening and the assembly of disk-like molecules into long supramolecular polymers. In addition, Roeland Nolte made significant contributions to chemical virology (a term he coined), modifying viruses to encapsulate enzymes and synthesizing nanomaterials. His innovations include synthetic catalysts for DNA cleavage and molecular machines for encoding digital information in polymer chains.


Roeland Nolte was born in Bergh, the Netherlands, on December 16, 1944. He studied chemistry at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, where he received his doctorandus degree (drs., Dutch equivalent to a master’s degree) in 1969. He completed his Ph.D. in Utrecht in 1973 under the supervision of Wiendelt Drenth with work on the “Synthesis and Isomerization of Poly(isocyanides)”. From 1973 to 1979, he served as Assistant Professor at the University of Utrecht and from 1979 to 1987 as Associate Professor. In 1981, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Donald J. Cram, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

In 1987, Roeland Nolte joined the Radboud University Nijmegen as Professor of Organic Chemistry. He remained in this position until his retirement in 2010. From 2003 to 2010, he also served as Royal Netherlands Academy of Science Professor and, since 2010, as Professor of Molecular Nanotechnology, both at Radboud University. Nolte also was Adjunct Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, from 1995 to 2010, Director of the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) at Radboud University from 2002 to 2010, and Honorary Professor at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at Eindhoven University of Technology since 2009.

Among many other honors, Roeland Nolte received a Knighthood in the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2004, the Izatt-Christensen Award for Excellence in Macrocyclic Chemistry in 2006, ERC Advanced Grants in 2011 and 2017, a Gravitation Grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in 2012 together with E. W. Meijer and Ben Feringa, and the International ICMS Materials Award in 2014.

He was a Member of the Netherlands Science Academy “Het Bataafsch Genootschap”, Rotterdam, an Elected Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Science and Arts, the the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science, and the Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JPSS), an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, and an Honorary Member of Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (KNCV).

Selected Publications


[1] In Memoriam Prof. Roeland J.M. Nolte, News Radboud University, The Netherlands, February 19, 2024. (accessed February 22, 2024)


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