Thomas wins ACS Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship

Posted on 16-2-2023

It’s awards season at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI)! As has been true for more than two decades, their awards recognize students for excellence in research and provide monetary support for travel so they can gain valuable experience presenting their green chemistry research at scientific meetings.
Thomas Freese completed his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and is currently working toward his Ph.D. at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His research focuses on major challenges associated with green feedstocks and chemical transformations using bio-based materials, the use of light and molecular oxygen toward waste-free transformations, and the clean production of the oxidant hydrogen peroxide.

Throughout his education, Freese has built an impressive resume of experience with many fundamental aspects of green chemistry, including green building blocks/feedstocks such as lignocellulose, applications of polymers and coatings, photo-, homo- and heterogeneous catalysis, energy carriers, water oxidation, and redox chemistry. He is also politically active as a member of the green party of Germany where his responsibilities include educating the public, organizing elections, and actively taking part in discussions regarding cleaner energies and hydrogen and electric vehicles. Remarkably, he has pledged to offset the carbon emissions of his travel to the U.S. via atmosfair (

Freese will be presenting his most recent research findings at the 27th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Long Beach, CA, June 13-15, 2023.


Illustration Ryojun Toyoda

One of our article featured in Nature Comm. Highlights!

Posted on 13/12/2022

The editors at Nature Communications have featured Ryojun's paper in their Highlights of recent research in Materials science and chemistry. The article, entitled “Synergistic interplay between photoisomerization and photoluminescence in a light-driven rotary molecular motor”, describes how two photofunctions, photoluminescence (PL) and unidirectional rotation, are combined by hybridizing a PL dye and a molecular motor. The molecular design provides photoregulation of these functions as well as additional synergistic effects.

The Editor's highights in Materials science and chemistry.
Our article in Nature Communications.

Everyday Molecules / Alledaagse Moleculen

Posted on 21-9-2022

In September, Ben Feringa and Anouk Lubbe presented the first copy of their book Alledaagse Moleculen (Everyday Molecules) to minister Robbert Dijkgraaf. The richly illustrated book offers an accessible overview of 180 substances in our daily lives. The Board of the University is particularly proud of Professor Feringa and research manager Lubbe’s initiative, which has received national coverage in the Dutch talk show Khalid en Sophie, the NOS podcast Met het Oog op Morgen, and on the Nemo Kennislink website, among others.
Follow the link for the article on the RuG website which includes links to see how Ben and Anouk talk about their great book.

Ben opens Mach5

Posted on 12-09-2022

After a summer where our group members were finally able to meet the international community again, we are closing the conference season in Plön Castle at the MACH5 conference. Several PhD students and postdocs, as well as many old friends, convene to talk machines, machines and more machines. Ben opened the conference with a lecture on Sunday, after which we hope some good conversation and German beers were enjoyed by all. Picture by Jiri Kaleta.


Feringa on Tour

Posted on 14-7-2022

Did you know that Ben visited several primary and secondary schools this year? We worked closely together with the Scholierenacademie of the RuG to offer a great program. We were happy to meet so many young people and Ben & Team Feringa told them about finding your own talent, always asking questions and following your dreams.
We are happy to announce that we will visit several schools again this upcoming year.
Have a look at this impression of the visit to Plein Joure in June.

34 Renowned Chemistry Professors And 21 Young European Scientists Recreate The Iconic Photo Featuring Curie And Einstein

Posted on 30-5-2022

Brussels, 30 May 2022. – 34 of Europe’s top chemistry professors, including two Nobel Prize laureates and 21 PhD students from all across the EU gathered today at the Brussels Metropole Hotel to recreate the iconic picture made in 1927 during the Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons. This world-famous photo shows the prime of the scientific leadership of that time, including Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Albert Einstein. Today’s gathering marks the 50th anniversary of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).

Read more and see the pictures? Follow this link:

34 Renowned Chemistry Professors And 21 Young European Scientists Recreate The Iconic Photo Featuring Curie And Einstein

Posted on 30-5-2022

Brussels, 30 May 2022. – 34 of Europe’s top chemistry professors, including two Nobel Prize laureates and 21 PhD students from all across the EU gathered today at the Brussels Metropole Hotel to recreate the iconic picture made in 1927 during the Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons. This world-famous photo shows the prime of the scientific leadership of that time, including Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Albert Einstein. Today’s gathering marks the 50th anniversary of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).

Read more and see the pictures? Follow this link:

150 successful PhD defenses for Ben

Posted on 13-05-2022

On the third of May, Ben reached a milestone with the successful defense of Dr. Jiaxin Hou: PhD nr. 150! The day already started off great with the defense of Dr. Piermichele Kobauri, and Dr. Hou did an amazing job as well. Ben unfortunately could not stay very long at the reception: he had to get ready for defense 151.


Ben lectures at Masaryk University

Posted on 18-03-2022

The Mendel Lectures are a lecture series in Brno, where the world's leading scientists talk about their research. Originally focused on genetics, they now concern the natural sciences in general. This week, Ben was invited and spoke about the Art of Building Small.


Small machines, big dreams: Professor Ben L. Feringa joins OIST Board of Governors

Posted on 14-12-2021

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is proud to welcome Professor Ben L. Feringa to its Board of Governors. The Board strategically oversees the implementation of business at OIST and consists of world-renowned scientists and business leaders

please use this link to read more:

Annemarie wins Unilever Research Prize 2021

Posted on 26-11-2021

It's not really news to us that our MSc students are awesome, but it's always nice to be acknowledged! Yesterday, Annemarie Doze was awarded one of the 2021 Unilever Research Prizes for her thesis "Metabolic labelling of Mycobacteria with proteins and photocleavable antibiotics". Annemarie performed this research under the guidance of dr. Jeffrey Buter and is now in the US for a research internship. Well done Annemarie, we are proud of you!

News item on the RUG site

Ben receives the first copy of Eise Eisinga biography 'De Hemelbouwer'

Posted on 18-10-2021

Not very far from Groningen, in the beautiful town of Franeker, is the oldest functioning planetarium in the world. Arjen Dijkstra wrote a biography of Eise Eisinga, the man who built it in the eighteenth century. If you want to know more about it, you can ask Ben, because last Friday he received the first copy of 'De Hemelbouwer'.


Carlijn wins Golden Master Award

Posted on 15-10-2021

At the KNCV's Avond van de Chemie, our MSc student Carlijn van Beek was awarded the Golden Master Award for her thesis 'Towards Introducing a High Level of Complexity by Combining Asymmetric Allylic Alkylation and Cyclisation'. This prestigious award goes to the best Chemistry MSc thesis of the Netherlands. Congratulations Carlijn, this is well deserved!


The Nobel Prize - 5 years later

Posted on 05-10-2021

Today, it is exactly five years ago that Ben, Fraser Stoddart and Jean-Pierre Sauvage shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The University of Groningen podcast 'In Science' interviewed Ben and several people close to him, about their experiences of the day.

Listen to the podcast here

Wooden shoes..

Posted on 12-7-2021

Have a look at this nice event when Ben supported a museum by donating a pair of so-called klompen. You will see there is a scientific link!

In Dutch. Picture by RTV Drenthe / Ronald Oostingh

George Hermens wins Innovation Award at CoSI

Posted on 09-07-2021

Last week, the ARC CBBC PhD students George, Hanneke, Siyu, Linda and Hugo, had a very strong participation in CoSI, the annual Coatings Science Conference.
At the conference, the audience gave the Innovation Award to George Hermens with his talk: “A coating from Nature"! Congratulations George, well done!


Ben Feringa Fonds

Posted on 03-06-2021

After winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016, Ben resolved to promote the importance of science to the general public. In 2020, he started the Ben Feringa Fonds, a foundation that is dedicated towards this goal. Have a look at this video, where Ben explains his vision:

Website Ben Feringa Fonds (Dutch)

‘Encouraging young people, that’s my most important job’

Posted on 17-5-2021

Ben Feringa’s new fund aims to increase societal appreciation of science.

Four and a half years ago, he received the Nobel Prize. During the award ceremony in Stockholm, Ben Feringa made a resolution: I will put science on the map. His mission is being given a new boost with the establishment of the Ben Feringa Fund, which aims to increase public interest in science, starting with a science quiz and a tour of secondary schools.

Please follow the link to read the article on the RuG website and see also how to register for the online Groningen Science Quiz (in Dutch). Tickets are free.

Carlijn nominated for Golden Master Award

Posted on 15-04-2021

Our MSc student Carlijn van Beek was nominated for the KNCV Golden Master Award! She and the other two candidates will join the KNCV 'Avond van de Chemie' later this year, where the winner will be announced. Congratulations Carlijn!

KNCV website

Incidental Art

Posted on 8-3-2021

A picture on how a flood is stopped by lab coats and how drying lab coats subsequently turn into art...
(photo by dr. Nadja Simeth)

Bernard Feringa at Groningen University. Photo taken in November 2013. Copyright © University of Groningen

2020 Nobel Week Dialogue: Bernard Feringa: “Every kid has a talent that we should encourage”

Posted on 02-12-2020

University professor and Chemistry Laureate Bernard Feringa is a firm believer in that all children have a talent, it just needs to be found and encouraged. Feringa will be participating in the 2020 Nobel Week Dialogue discussing the role and challenge of education on 9 December.

Let’s talk about your own childhood. You were the second of nine siblings and you were brought up in a farm. How has your upbringing affected you?

2020 Nobel Week Dialogue: Bernard Feringa: “Every kid has a talent that we should encourage”
Ceremonies Nobel Week 2020

Ocean Grazer and Ivy One winners of first Ben Feringa Impact Award

Posted on 09-11-2020

The University of Groningen established the Ben Feringa Impact Award to highlight the exceptional achievements of researchers and students in the field of knowledge utilization. This refers to the connection between the academic world of the UG and society at large. The prize is divided into two categories: one for researchers and one for students. The winning project in the category for researchers is ‘Ocean Grazer’, by Wout Prins, Antonis Vakis and Bayu Jayawardhana. The winning project in the category for students is ‘Ivy One’, by Niels Weijermars.

Invitation: Ben Feringa Lecture

Posted on 10-11-2020

Earlier this year, the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Vereniging van Nederlandse Universiteiten (VSNU) and the University of Groningen (UG) planned the first Ben Feringa Lecture in San Francisco, organised by Alumni Relations. This was intended to be an exclusive lecture for the Holland in the Valley network to meet Nobel Laureate Ben Feringa. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the lecture was postponed until further notice. After the following months came and went, we got a little restless and thought: If we can’t get together physically, why don’t we get together online?

Please follow the link to the RuG website to read more and to find the registration link!

Reinhoudt Lecture at the Mesa+ Institute, University of Twente by Prof.dr. Ben Feringa

Posted on 21-09-2020

MESA+ day 2020, celebrating 30 yrs MESA, 20 yrs '+', and 10 yrs NanoLab. Today, the first Reinhoudt lecture, by Ben Feringa.

Twitter @MiriamLuizink

Friends of the ERC Press Conference

Posted on Sept 3 2020

ERC and the EU Budget - from ESOF 2020.
With Ole Petter Ottersen, Ben Feringa, Agnieszka Wykowska, Dag Rune Olsen.

Protect the ERC in the EU budget
One of the greatest European success stories in the last decade is the European Research Council (ERC). Thanks to its unique formula of independence from political intervention, bold research ideas, bottom-up approach, and a singular focus on excellence, ERC grants have become one of the most prestigious research grants in the world. We fear a budget cut for research, affecting also the ERC, in the next EU budget.

In an open letter, we call upon the EU Presidents and the Heads of States and Governments in Europe to secure funding for the European Research Council in the new, long-term EU budget. Over 16,000 academics from Europe and beyond has supported our petition to support the letter.

Watch the Friends of the ERC Press Conference Sept 3 2020
Read more on:
In conversation with Ben Feringa and Heino Falcke

Lowlands 2020: In conversation with the best Dutch scientists

Posted on 24-08-2020

New Scientist talked to the best Dutch scientists at Lowlands,
and on Sunday they talked with chemistry professor Ben Feringa.

According to Feringa, we need to invest much more in fundamental research, such as his study of nanomotors. In order to find sustainable solutions, we need to know exactly what is happening at a fundamental level. To do this, you need a long-term and sufficient investment. The Netherlands has real top scientists, but we need to show more courage to make those investments'.

Unfortunately the article is only in Dutch.

Friedrich Hirzebruch-Promotionspreis 2020 for Michael Kathan

Posted on 06-07-2020

Congratulations to our postdoctoral researcher Dr. Michael Kathan, for winning the 2020 Friedrich Hirzebruch Prize from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. Michael won this award for his thesis 'Photoswitching Reactivity: From remote-controlled to light-driven chemical systems', written in the group of Stefan Hecht at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Check out the movie about his work!

Movie about Michaels research

Upcoming PhD ceremony

Posted on 11-6-2020

On the 8th of July group member Friederike Reessing will defend her thesis at 11.00h.

Molecular tools for light-navigated therapy

Access to the Academy Building is limited, so you are cordially invited to watch the ceremony via:


Outstanding scientists elected as Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society

Posted on 1-5-2020

More than 60 exceptional scientists from around the world have been elected as Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society. The 51 new Fellows, 10 Foreign Members and one Honorary Fellow have been selected for their outstanding contributions to scientific understanding. With discoveries ranging from the first planets outside our solar system, to the creation of the world’s smallest molecular engine, new mathematical proofs and treatments for debilitating global disease. They embody the global nature of science, with representation from Sweden, Israel, Germany, Australia, Canada, UK-born scientists working in Europe and beyond, and researchers from around the world enriching Britain’s own research and innovation sector. Their ranks include six Nobel laureates, as well as internationally recognised leaders in industry and science policy.

Please follow this link to read more about the new members, including Ben Feringa:

Awards for Qi Zhang and Nadja Simeth!

Posted on 01-04-2020

Last week, two of our group members received prestigious honours. Qi Zhang was awarded the 2020 IUPAC-Solvay International Award for Young Chemists. Nadja Simeth was elected one of the 2020 CAS Future Leaders. Congratulations to both!

IUPAC-Solvay announcement
CAS announcement

Important announcement

Posted on 17-3-2020

The UG has cancelled lectures, exams and major events until 10 April. Where possible, lectures and exams will be offered online. The advice for all staff is to work from home as much as possible.

Here the link to the University website (updated every day)

UG 3-Minute-Thesis competition at the Forum

Posted on 2-3-2020

The UG is organizing its third edition of the 3-Minute-Thesis competition on March 11, 2020 at the new Groninger Forum.

The goal of the competition, which originated in Queensland, Australia, is to cultivate students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Jana Volaric will represent our group this year! Please follow the link to see what Jana's topic will be. And, if you can, order tickets to be present..

More info about the upcoming promotions

Posted on 2-12-2019

Photoresponsive supramolecular soft materials in aqueous media
Mw. S. (Shaoyu) Chen, 13 december 2019 09:00

Functionalization of molecules in confined space
Dhr. Y. (Yuchen) Wei, 13 december 2019 11:00

Design of new aggregates for catalysis
Dhr. F. (Filippo) Tosi, 13 december 2019 12:45

Location: the Academy Building
Please follow the links to read the summaries

Ben opens a new lab at the Johan van Oldebarnevelt Gymnasium (Amersfoort)

Posted on 21-11-2019

Click on the link for more info

Upcoming PhD ceremonies

Posted on 19-11-2019

On the 13th of December 3 group members will defend their thesis in the Aula of our Academy Building.

Shaoyu Chen: 9.00h
Yuchen Wei: 11.00h
Filippo Tosi: 12.45h

A link to the topics and the summaries will follow soon.


Upcoming PhD ceremony

Posted on 1-11-19

Groupmember Henrieke will defend her thesis!

Promovendus: Mw. G.H. (Henrieke) Heideman
Date: 8th of november 2019 16:15h
Please note that the ceremony is not in the Aula of our Academy building as usual but in the Nieuwe Kerk
(Nieuwe Kerkhof 1, 9712 PT Groningen)

Title of thesis:
Modification of graphite surfaces for the adsorption of molecular motors

European Research & Innovation Days

Posted on 31-10-2019

Please follow the link to a nice video of Ben participating in the Excellence in Science session at the European Research and Innovations Days in Brussels last September.

Ben at the 25th Solvay Conference on Chermistry (Brussels)

Posted on 16-10-2019

Breakfast with the new CEO and other participants of the Solvay Company, before the 25th Solvay Conference on Chemistry starts.


PhD ceremony of Wojciech Danowski

Posted on 27-9-2019

Today our group member Wojciech will defend his PhD thesis titled:
"Confined Molecular Machines and Switches".
Location: the Aula of the Academy Building in Groningen at 14.30h.


European Research & Innovation days (Brussels)

Posted on 26-09-2019

Ben giving a speech at the to European Research & Innovation Days
"have excellent fundamental science to make our future possible - excellence in science means excellence in innovation"


Festive start to construction of the Feringa Building: ‘A historic moment’

Posted on 18-9-2019

Ben Feringa himself attended the celebrations to mark the start of the first building phase of the Feringa Building at the University of Groningen (UG) on Wednesday 18 September. ‘A historic moment. September 1969 I entered this University as a Chemistry student. Fifty years later I am very honoured to kick off the construction of a new Faculty building named after me’, said a very proud Professor Ben Feringa.

Please follow the link to the RuG article with some nice pictures!

Christian graduates!

Posted on 13-09-2019

This week our student Christian Böhmer, aka 'The G', received his MSc degree. Christian joined our group as a BSc student and stayed for various projects over 2 years. We are sad to lose him, but wish him all the best with his PhD in Heidelberg, with Michael Mastalerz. Congratulations G!


Ben Feringa en KHMW zoeken bouwers aan vertrouwen

Posted on 05-09-2019

De Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen, KHMW, zoekt het maatschappelijk initiatief of project dat het onderling vertrouwen in de Nederlandse samenleving versterkt. Tot en met 13 oktober is het voor iedereen mogelijk om initiatieven aan te melden en kans te maken op de Brouwer Vertrouwensprijs ter waarde van 100.000 euro.
Ben Feringa ondersteunt de zoektocht van de KHMW. Klik hiervoor op de link.

Kaja finishes her PhD in Poland

Posted on 05-09-2019

After successfully defending in Groningen earlier this year, dr. Kaja Sitkowska completed her PhD in Poland yesterday! Congratulations from all of us!

Picture: Ben, Kaja and her 2nd promotor Prof. Grzegorz Litwinienko


Veni grant for dr. Jeffrey Buter!

Posted on 17-07-2019

For more info see click on Group news.


Nadja Simeth received the Armin-Buschauer PhD prize for her doctoral thesis

Posted on 02-07-2019

Nadja is a postdoctoral researcher in the Feringa group. She travelled back to her Alma mater in Regensburg, Germany, to receive the Armin-Buschauer PhD prize for her doctoral thesis. The prize was handed over by Prof. Dr. Heilmann, Dean of the Department for Chemistry and Pharmacy.


The Feringa group at the GRC Artificial Molecular Switches and Motors

Posted on 14-6-2019

Last week, the Gordon Research Conference on Artificial Molecular Switches and Motors took place in New Hampshire and was attended by Ben, Wiktor, Greg, Cosima, Daisy, Nadja and Stefano. Wiktor gave a talk, and Cosima presented at the preceding Gordon Research Seminar. She was also elected to organize the next GRS, alongside Hanie Yousefi from the University of Toronto. Well done Cosima!


A fast all-visible-light molecular switch with 100 nm band separation

Posted on 4-6-2019

A consortium of scientists from the Medical Imaging Center (University Medical Center Groningen), Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (University of Amsterdam), Palacky University in Olomouc, the University of Nantes and the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy in Florence have developed an entirely new class of molecular photoswitches that meet many of the ‘holy grail’ requirements so far thought to be impossible to achieve. The results have been published in Nature Communications yesterday.

Please follow the link to the article on the RuG website in which our group member Mark Hoorens tells more.

Prof. Feringa receives an honorary doctorate degree from University of Santiago de Compostela

Posted on 13-5-2019

Personal report from Prof. Diego Peña

On May 7th and 8th Prof Feringa visited the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Ben has a long-standing relation with this University where he was visiting professor back in 2001. During this visit Ben received an honorary doctorate degree from USC, met a group of high school students from Galicia and gave a dissemination talk for the general public among other activities. For all of us in Santiago, it was a privilege to enjoy once again Ben’s passion for science and education!

Prof. Feringa with former collaborators in Pazo de Fonseca (USC) after receiving the honorary doctorate. From left to right: Dr. Fernando López, Prof. Diego Peña, Prof. Ben L. Feringa and Dr. Martín Fañanás-Mastral.


Professor Feringa; new member of the IAS Scientific Board.

Posted on 29-04-2019

Nobel Laureate Ben Feringa on the IAS Scientific Advisory Board.

Click on the link to read the whole newsflash.

The National Academy of Sciences elects Ben Feringa as one of their new foreign associates

Posted on 1-5-2019

On Tuesday 30 April the National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Ben Feringa is one of the elected foreign associates. Prof. Jean-Paul Sauvage (fellow Nobel Prize Winner Chemistry 2016) was also awarded this honour.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. The NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community. Nearly 500 members of the NAS have won Nobel Prizes.

You can find an overview of the elected members on the website of the National Academy of Sciences - see link.

BNR newsradio sound clip and C&EN highlight

Posted on 17-4-2019

Please follow this link to listen to a nice sound clip in which our group member dr. Mickel Hansen explains how to use light to disrupt the communication between bacteria.
Sound clip in Dutch.
Chemical and Engineering News also dedicated a highlight to Mickels new publication in Chem.
C&EN Highlight

Asteroid named after Ben

Posted on 12-4-2019

Looking for Ben? Maybe try 2.8 AU from the sun! Main belt asteroid 12655 has recently been named 'Benferinga' by the International Astronomical Union. And although it may be lonely in space there is no need to worry: asteroid Groningen is nearby. Follow these links for more information.

Check where Benferinga is now
Read the University of Groningen news item here

Michael Lerch wins KNCV-Backer prize

Posted on 10-4-2019

This week, it was announced that former group member Michael Lerch will receive the 2018 KNCV-Backer prize for his thesis "Donor-acceptor Stenhouse adducts". This prize is awarded annually for the best organic chemistry thesis defended in the Netherlands. Michael is at the moment working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Aizenberg group at Harvard University, but will visit the Netherlands in December to give a talk at CHAINS. Congratulations Michael!


Prof. Feringa receives honorary doctorate degree from University of Johannesburg

Posted on 02-04-2019

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) bestowed on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 an Honoris Causa degree on professor Feringa in recognition of his sterling international recognition in Chemistry.

The honorary doctorate also demonstrates the Faculty’s appreciation for and recognition of his discovery in 1999 of ‘molecular motors’.


EU invests €540 million to boost cutting-edge research

Posted on 28-3-2019

Senior scientists across Europe will use these EU funded grants to explore their most daring research ideas. Their work could answer some of today’s pressing questions, such as how to improve the generation and storage of renewable energy or how to help our biological clocks cope with our 24/7 modern lives. This 2019 round of European Research Council grants could lead to the creation of 2,000 new jobs.

Follow the link for more information:

Prof. Feringa in India

Posted on 13-3-2019

Prof. Ben Feringa will visit India during 11-20 March 2019 as the Raman Chair of the Indian Academy of Sciences.

The Indian Academy of Sciences was founded by Sir. C.V. Raman in 1934. The Raman Chair of the Indian Academy of Sciences was established by the Indian Government in 1972 to commemorate Prof. C.V. Raman. Through the Raman Chair, the Academy brings leading scientists working across the world to India, to lecture on their work and to interact with Indian researchers in different parts of the country. The Chair has been occupied by some very distinguished scientists over the years.

Picture: Ben talking to the students of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Prof. Feringa member of ERC council

Posted on 4-3-2019

Have a look at the video to gain insight on Ben's motivation to join the ERC council.

Ben visits Pius X-College Bladel

Posted on 18-02-2019

Ben gave a lecture for HAVO and VWO students at the Pius X-College in Bladel. Ben was invited by two former VWO students of the Pius X-College.
He told the students about his work and how his work led to the Nobel Prize.
For more info and a short video impression see the link.

Ben Feringa zijn lezing in Bladel

The golden year of Chemistry

Posted on 7-2-2019

Do you know how old the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is? It is 150 years since Dmitry Mendeleev discovered the Periodic System, making 2019 the "International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements" (IYPT2019). as proclaimed by the United Nation General Assembly and UNESCO.

Please follow the link to the Solvay website to see a nice report on this event at which Ben delivered a speech.

Ben Feringa appointed member of ERC Scientific Council

Posted on 19-12-2018

Three new members of the European Research Council (ERC)'s governing body, the Scientific Council, have been appointed by the European Commission. One of them is prof. dr. Ben Feringa. The others are Lene Vestergaard Hau, Professor at Harvard University; and Manuel Arellano, Professor of Economics in Madrid. The Scientific Council, composed of 22 distinguished scientists and scholars representing the European scientific community, is the independent governing body of the ERC.
Please follow the link to read more:

Upcoming PhD Ceremonies

Posted on 6-12-18

Mr G.D. (Diederik) Roke
Title: Molecular motors: new designs and applications
When: December 14, 2018 11.00 a.m.
Where: Academy building RUG

Mr M.J. (Mickel) Hansen
Title: Controlling biological function with light
When: December 14, 2018 12.45 p.m.
Where: Academy building RUG

Please follow the links for more information about their topics.
Prof. Feringa and his wife together with John van den Heuvel and his wife, Robert Brochard and Rosina Louwaars (organization)

Childright Nobel Gala 2018

Posted on 17-11-2018

Last November 17th, prof. Feringa visited the Childright Nobel Gala as honorary guest. He received the Childright Award 2018 together with a cheque for 10,000 euros for a childrens project in the Repbulic of Uganda. This project is chosen by prof. Feringa.

The location of this wonderful event was The Kurhaus hotel in Scheveningen.

Picture: Prof. Feringa and his wife together with John van den Heuvel (who received the Childright Award in 2016) and his wife, Robert Brochard and Rosina Louwaars (organization)


Schrödinger at 75: The Future of Biology - Talks Released Online

Posted on 22-11-2018

On the 5th and 6th of September, Prof. Feringa was a speaker at the event at Trinity College Dublin called "Schrödinger at 75: The Future of Biology". His lecture and those of the other esteemed speakers can now be viewed online. Here is the link and also a link to some interesting backstage interviews.

Ben visits Meander College Zwolle

Posted on 13-11-2018

Ben gave a lecture for approx. 400 HAVO and VWO students. He was invited by the student association Goochem to share his passion for science with the pupils and tell them about his work that led to the Nobelprize. The students reacted very positive to his enthusiasm.


Yerevan hosts 'Frontiers in Chemistry: Armenia 2018' international conference

Posted on 29-10-2018

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 22, ARMENPRESS. Groningen University of the Netherlands in partnership with the Yerevan State University and with the support of the European Union Delegation in Armenia organized a massive scientific international conference – Frontiers in Chemistry: Armenia (ArmChemFront2018) on October 22, reports Armenpress.

World-renowned speakers, including 2 Nobel Prize winners and the EU’s Horizon2020 participants have been invited to Armenia. Apart from the invited top speakers, more than 100 scientists from all over the world, including Armenia, were present at the conference. The main goal of the symposium is to provide Armenian scientists, especially the younger generation, with the opportunity to get acquainted with the best practices in the field using innovative methods and quality techniques in their work. The core message of the conference is the need to reenergize chemical research in the Republic of Armenia tailored to the specific requirements and conditions of the country and in line with the scientific achievements of the world.

Please follow the link to read the full article:

Reünie tussen de reageerbuisjes / Reunion between the test tubes.

Posted on 18-10-2018

Vrijdag 12 oktober jl vond de reünie plaats van de organisch chemici die tussen 1969 en 1995 promoveerden bij de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Ruim 115 mensen werden ontvangen op de Zernikecampus waar zij naar lezingen van o.a. Bert Meijer, Adri Minnaard en Ben Feringa konden luisteren. Een rondleiding op het lab mocht niet ontbreken. Aan het einde van de middag vertrok het hele gezelschap naar de Coendersborg voor een hapje en een drankje.
Het was een zeer geslaagde dag!

Bron foto: Dagblad van het Noorden, fotograaf Geert Job Sevink.

Last Friday (October 12th) we had a reunion of organic chemists who defended their thesis between 1969 and 1995. More than 115 people responded to the invitation to come to the Zernike campus where they could listen to lectures of Bert Meijer, Adri Minnaard and Ben Feringa. A tour of the lab was also included.
In the afternoon the people left to the Coendersborg for an informal drink and dinner.
It was a very nice day!

Foto from Dagblad van het Noorden by photographer Geert Job Sevink.


George A. Olah Distinguished Lectureship (California, USA).

Posted on 05-10-2018

This picture was taking during Bens visit to Los Angeles (October 4-6, 2018). Ben was in Los Angeles to give a lecture for the George A. Olah Distinguished Lectureship. The people in the photo are Paul Weiss (UCLA), Frances Arnold (Caltech), Surya Prakash (USC) and Ben.

Frances Arnold is an American chemical engineer and Nobel Laureate. In 2018, she was awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering the use of directed evolution to engineer enzymes


Teaching and playing

Posted on 5-10-2018

This picture was taken during Bens visit to NHL Stenden. Children can get a feel for science by playing. Maybe this girl will be a creative and innovative scientist in a few years? To quote Bens vision: "Let universities be playgrounds"


PhD Ceremony Erik Pinxterhuis 28/9

Posted on 27-9-2018

On Friday the 28th of September group member Erik Pinxterhuis will defend his thesis.

Location: the Aula of the RuG Academy Building
Time: at 16.15h

Title of thesis: Enantioselective liquid-liquid extractions


ChemPubSoc Europe Fellows 2016/2017

Posted on 13-8-2018

ChemPubSoc Europe is proud to announce its new Fellows at the 7th EuChemS Congress for their outstanding services. The Fellows listed below were nominated to honor their extraordinary support and contributions towards the European joint publishing venture ChemPubSoc Europe.

The Fellowship is the highest award given by ChemPubSoc Europe. It was established in 2015 and is announced in the run-up to the biannual EuChemS congresses. This year, the nomination of the Fellows will be celebrated at a reception during the 7th EuChemS Congress in Liverpool, UK, on August 28, 2018.

Please follow the link for more information:

Professor Feringa appears in new talkshow on Dutch National television

Posted on 9-8-2018

Thursday night August 9th, the first part from the new four-episode interview programme Moby Dick will be broadcasted on NPO 1. In the programme, presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk interviews famous and less famous guests about important books in their lives. Tonight, UG professor and Nobel prize winner Ben Feringa will be attending together with tv personality Dieuwertje Blok.

Simple process produces complex polymer

Posted on 27-7-2018

Possible applications: production of glue, self-repairing material and degradable products

Polymeric materials can be very versatile, but this comes at a cost. Complex functionality such as self-healing usually requires a complex synthetic process. The challenge is to prepare polymeric materials with integrated sophisticated properties using extremely simplified routes. University of Groningen organic chemist Ben Feringa, along with colleagues from the East China University of Science and Technology, has done just that. In a paper published in Science Advances on 27 July, they describe how to make a versatile polymer through a simple process.

Please follow this link to read the full article on the RuG website:

A film about women in academia

Posted on 20-6-2018

Athena’s Angels have seized the opportunity to draw attention to the position of women in academia with a Father’s Day gift. The gift is a short film where leading academic men, Ben Feringa, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Alexander Rinnooy Kan, Wim van Saarloos and Carel Stolker, take a look at academia through the eyes of their daughters. All five of them have one or more daughters.
The position of women in academia is still worrisome. The many fathers who work at universities could do something about this, for their daughters or female PhD students and postdocs. Research has revealed that fathers have a strong influence on the choice of profession and careers of their daughters.
Please follow the link to see the film!

Feringa appears in newspaper China Daily

Posted on 4th of May 2018

During an academic visit to China, accompanied by his wife Betty, Ben was portrayed in the China Daily newspaper on the 3rd of May.
He received a permanent resident identification card. The newspaper reported that China is pushing to attract top-quality talent from around the world.


First European Chemistry Gold Medal awarded to Prof. Ben Feringa

Posted on 06-03-2018

The very first European Chemistry Gold Medal has been awarded to Professor Ben Feringa for exceptional achievements in the field of chemistry in Europe. Professor Feringa will be presented with the Gold Medal during the 7th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool this year, where he will also give a plenary lecture.

Chemists forge green path to alkylated amines

Posted on 2017-12-12

C & En Highlights

Artikel over "Playground" Ben Feringa vanavond gepubliceerd door WIRED

Posted on 2017-12-11

Artikel over "Playground" Ben Feringa vanavond gepubliceerd door WIRED


Nature Reviews Chemistry

Posted on 2017-12-01

Dynamic control of function by light-driven molecular motors

Thomas van Leeuwen, Anouk S. Lubbe, Peter Štacko, Sander J. Wezenberg & Ben L. Feringa,

The field of dynamic functional molecular systems has progressed enormously over the past few decades. By coupling the mechanical properties of molecular switches and motors to chemical and biological processes, exceptional control of function has been attained. Overcrowded alkene-based light-driven molecular motors are very attractive in this respect owing to their unique multistate photochemically and thermally induced switching processes and their helical chirality inversion in each switching step. However, extending our control over properties from the molecular scale to larger length scales is still a fundamental challenge. In this Perspective, we discuss recent developments that address this challenge, ranging from the application of these motors in catalysis and synthetic materials to the control of biological properties. We may now be positioned at the dawn of a new era in which artificial molecular motors are able to perform programmed tasks and dynamic functions akin to the biological machines that are found in daily life.

Please find the full article


Video of Prof. Feringa in roundtable discussion at the University of Wisconsin

Posted on 12-10-2017

Please follow the link and see Prof. Feringa speak about the importance of inspiring students and science education.

Chiral crabs -- Under the Covers

Posted on 2017-09-23

Under the covers
Sander Wezenberg, and PhD students Thomas van Leeuwen and Kaja Sitkowska, from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, spoke to us about their work in chirality and molecular motors, and the seaside scene on the cover of ChemComm that it inspired.

Chirality is a very important property in science and nature. It is a form of asymmetry, whereby you can have two objects that are identical in every way, except that they are mirror images of each other. Your hands are an example of a chiral object.

When chirality is applied to molecules, the two mirror-image forms of the molecule are referred to as isomers, and are often called the 'left-handed' and 'right-handed' isomer. It is very common for one isomer of a molecule to exist in nature, whilst the other isomer can only be obtained by synthesising it in a lab. "No-one knows where this preference for one chiral form in nature comes from", says Thomas. "It’s still a bit of a mystery in chemistry."

This can be a problem for chemists, as sometimes it is the non-naturally-occurring molecule that is the most useful in reactions, and for applications such as drug molecules. It is therefore very useful to be able to convert a molecule from one chiral form to the other.

"We are working on a way to control the chirality of polymers using a small molecular motor as a trigger," says Thomas.

Sander explains: "We have a very unique molecule – a molecular motor – in which you can control the chirality using a sequence of light and thermally-activated steps. We have now found a way to transfer the chiral information from that molecule onto another molecule – the polymer – meaning that you can control the handedness of the polymer in a dynamic way."

Molecular motors are a hot topic in the group, which is led by Ben Feringa who won the Nobel Prize in 2016 for his work in this area, alongside fellow recipients Fraser Stoddart and Jean-Pierre Sauvage.

The molecular motor attaches itself to the polymer via non-covalent interactions and light is used as a stimulus to switch its chirality. Because of the way it is attached to the polymer, the polymer also switches.

From the art desk
Kaja is one of the PhD students in the group. She wasn’t involved in writing the paper but art is a hobby and she does most of the artwork for the group.

"I was thinking of summer when I designed the image", she says. "We have the sea, which represents the sea of other people’s work, then we have the stone which is our own little field, and on this stone we’re showing the others what we can do."

"The two crabs are displaying the molecular motors on their shells. The one on the left is being irradiated with sunlight, and it has different chirality to the one on the left. The seaweed represents the polymer."

The final image was drawn on a tablet, and below you can see some of Kaja’s preliminary sketches.

Read the article: Thomas van Leeuwen et al, Chem. Commun., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/C7CC03188B

This image appears on the front cover of Chemical Communications, 2017, Issue 48.


Molecular engines in a nutshell

Posted on 3-8-2017

Group members Erik Pinxterhuis and Paco Visser will give a "Rotor College" for children during Noorderzon. Please follow the link to read more about this event that takes place on the 19th of August (and to order tickets).

Chemistry class by Nobel Prize winner Feringa for twelve hundred pupils

Posted on 7-7-2017

It is not every day that you have a class from a Nobel Prize winner, but 1,200 pupils from Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe will, on Monday 10 July. Prof. Ben Feringa will teach a class on his groundbreaking research on molecular engines twice that day. In the morning 600 primary school pupils will arrive at Zernike Campus, and 600 high school pupils will attend in the afternoon. The classes are being organized by the Pre University Academy of the University of Groningen.

Ben speaks at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Posted on 26-6-2-17

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (25-30 June) has started and is dedicated to chemistry. 28 Nobel Laureates will meet 420 international young scientists.

Ben will present a lecture titled "the Joy of Discovery".
Also attending the meeting: our PhD's Michael Lerch and Mickel Hansen.

Have a look at the Lindau website for pictures and videos.

Ben Feringa wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry prize

Posted on 10-5-2017

Ben Feringa is the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize winner for 2017. The Centenary Prize is awarded to outstanding chemists from outside the United Kingdom – those who are also exceptional
communicators – to give lectures in the British Isles.
Professor Feringa receives £5,000, a medal and a certificate.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With over 50,000 members and 175 years of history, it is the UK’s professional non-profit body for chemical scientists over the world.

Professor Feringa: “I am greatly honoured by this prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award and it is fantastic to be on this list of distinguished chemists that were winners of the Centenary Prizes in the past decades. I am looking forward to visit several UK universities and discuss the frontiers of our field with colleagues and students.”

Centenary prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results, which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software. An illustrious list of 50 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Ben Feringa himself, who shared the 2016 Nobel Prize with fellow Centenary Prize winners Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Fraser Stoddart.


Ben Feringa wins Academic Society Award

Posted on 20-4-2017

On Wednesday 19 April, on the Day of the Engineer, Nobel Prizewinner Ben Feringa was presented with the Academic Society Award by The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI). He received the award in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel of Orange. Feringa was awarded the prize in acknowledgement of the great importance of his research and the captivating way he links science to society.
Please follow the link for more information and some pictures.

Ben Feringa wins Academic Society Award

Posted on 20-4-2017

On Wednesday 19 April, on the Day of the Engineer, Nobel Prizewinner Ben Feringa was presented with the Academic Society Award by The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI). He received the award in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel of Orange. Feringa was awarded the prize in acknowledgement of the great importance of his research and the captivating way he links science to society.
Please follow the link for more information and some nice pictures:

Ben Feringa in TV show College Tour

Posted on 13-3-17

Nobel laureate Ben Feringa will be one of the guests in the upcoming season of the popular TV show NTR College Tour. The show will be recorded in Groningen on Thursday 20 April and broadcast a week later, on Friday the 28th. Please sign up via the College Tour website if you would like to attend the recording.

Mickel Hansen and Michael Lerch selected to participate to the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Posted on 13-3-17

Please follow the link to the Stratingh website for more information about this great opportunity for our 2 group members

Promotion Suresh

Posted on 8-3-17

"Exploring asymmetric catalytic transformations"

PhD ceremony: Mr S. Guduguntla
When: March 10, 2017
Start: 16:15
Promotor: prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa
Where: Academy building RUG


special visitors

Posted on 24-1-2017

Prof. Feringa was visited by 2 very nice guests: Boas and Roosmarijn (age 9!). They came well prepared and asked very good questions for a school project. Probably future scientists! We hope to hear which grade they got...


Ben Feringa meets King Willem-Alexander

Posted on 19-12-16

Please follow the link to see a nice report and short clip about the meeting between Ben Feringa and King Willem-Alexander.
From all us of here the very best wishes for the holidays!

Ben receives the Nobel Prize

Posted on 10-12-2016

On Saturday the 10th of December Ben received the Nobel Prize.
A wonderful and emotional moment for those present and everyone watching the ceremony.

For a full report - including beautiful pictures - please follow this link to our University website:

Ben Feringa appointed Commander

Posted on 24-11-2016

Yesterday Ben was appointed Commander in the order of the Dutch Lion.
Please follow the link to read more.

Nobel Prize for Ben Feringa

Posted on 05-10-2016

The greatest honor today! Read about it on the RUG website by following this link:

Prof. Ben Feringa wins the 2016 Tetrahedron Prize

Posted on 2016-09-13

The Board of Executive Editors of Elsevier ’s Tetrahedron journal series have announced that the 2016 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry has been awarded to Professor Ben L. Feringa of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, University of Groningen. He receives the award for his outstanding contributions to organic chemistry. Former winners of the prestigious prize are from Cambridge University, Stanford University and the Max-Planck-Institut.

Professor Stephen Martin, Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Tetrahedron journals, said on announcing this year’s winner: “ Professor Feringa has performed truly ground-breaking research in the diverse fields of dynamic molecular systems, catalysis, and stereochemistry. His contributions to molecular nanotechnology, including molecular switches and rotors, have played a major role in shaping the field of nanomachines. Similarly, his discoveries in catalysis, particularly of enantioselective transformations, have had a profound influence in synthetic organic chemistry and its applications to natural product chemistry."

“Winning the Tetrahedron Prize is not only a great honor for me personally, but also for my team of excellent young students and coworkers whom I have worked alongside over the years and are responsible for many discoveries in our labs,” Professor Feringa commented “This is a very prestigious prize and I am extremely grateful to the giants in our field who have acted as a source of inspiration throughout my career and whose shoulders I stand on to continue the tradition of excellence in organic chemistry.”

In a recent interview, Professor Feringa speaks about winning the award and provides some personal and scientific insights about some of his contributions to organic chemistry .

The Tetrahedron Prize was established in 1980 and is intended to honor the memory of the founding co-Chairmen of the Tetrahedron publications, Professor Sir Robert Robinson and Professor Robert Burns Woodward. It is awarded annually and consists of a gold medal, a certificate, and a monetary amount of $10,000, which will be presented during the 2017 Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC, USA (August 20-24, 2017).


Update regarding EuCheMS 2016

Posted on 08-08-2016

The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker) has awarded Prof. Ben Feringa with the August-Wilhlem-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze in recognition of his ground-breaking research on dynamic molecular systems, catalysis and stereochemistry.
Feringa will receive the award at the 6th European Chemistry Congress in Sevilla, Spain. The award ceremony will be on the 15th of September, at 15.15h.


Workweek 2016

Posted on 2-6-2016

From 8th-10th of June the research groups Feringa, Harutyunyan and Barta will be on workweek.

Workweek is a traditional event which is organized yearly, normally at the beginning of June. It's a group activity including a scientific program and teambuilding activity.

The program includes a visit to an industrial company, a joint conference with TU Delft, a "bonte avond" and an adventurous activity.

We thank Prof. Dr. Jorge Gascon for hosting us in TU Delft!

Have a look at the site for more information.

KNCV Backer Prize for Massimo Giannerini

Posted on 11-4-16

Dr. Massimo Giannerini, former group member in the Feringa Group, has been awarded the KNCV Backer prize for best thesis Organic Chemistry 2015.

After careful reflection and consideration of 45 dissertations the thesis of Dr. Massimo Giannerini was considered the best to receive the KNCV Backer price. The study was conducted in the Netherlands under the guidance of Prof Ben Feringa.
The committee was very impressed by the neat way in which the experiments are described and some innovative steps in the synthesis but also the substantive discussions in the various chapters. In short, the overall quality of the thesis was considered excellent.

Congratulations to Massimo!
NB: he will give a lecture at Chains in December.


ERC Advanced Grant for Prof. Feringa

Posted on 24-3-2016

The European Research Council as awarded Ben Feringa an Advanced Grant.

Here is more information on the topic of research:
Molecular Motors, powering dynamic functional molecular systems

In this program the unique properties of unidirectional light driven molecular rotary motors will be built upon to achieve dynamic control of function and develop responsive systems with a particular focus on systems in water. Light-driven molecular rotary motors are distinct from the majority of molecular switches, as they allow sequential access to multiple functional states in a responsive system through non-invasive stimulation. Importantly, continuous irradiation induces continuous rotary motion which provides a unique opportunity to design dynamic systems and responsive materials that can be driven out-of-equilibrium.
The proposed research program is highly challenging but provides the comprehensive effort required to achieve control of complex nanomechanical systems and will opening a bright future for applications ranging from stimuli responsive materials to spatio-temporal control of biomolecular systems.

Interview in magazine Juist

Posted on 10-03-2016

Interview with Ben in the monthly magazine Juist.
(Elsevier Juist, issue March, no 26). The article is in Dutch.

Upcoming PhD Defence

Posted on 03-02-2016

Friday, February 5th
@ 14:30 Claudia Poloni will defend her PhD thesis.
Title: “Peptides in Motion”.
Promotor: Prof. dr. B.L. Feringa
Co-promotor: Dr. W.C.Szymanski


Prof. Ben Feringa awarded August Wilhelm von Hofmann Denkmünze

Posted on 2016-02-02

The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker) has awarded Prof. Ben Feringa with the August-Wilhlem-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze in recognition of his ground-breaking research on dynamic molecular systems, catalysis and stereochemistry. Feringa will receive the award at the 6th European Chemistry Congress in Sevilla, Spain in September 2016.


ScienceCafeEnschede - Ben Feringa

Posted on 2015-01-15

ScienceCafeEnschede - Ben Feringa


National research centre for chemical building blocks

Posted on 08-12-2015

AkzoNobel, BASF, Shell, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Top Sector Chemistry, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Utrecht University, the Eindhoven University of Technology and Groningen University today presented their plans for setting up the new Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC). This national research centre will tackle important energy and chemistry issues associated with the growing depletion of the finite supply of raw materials. The partners have made a commitment for several years and are aiming to jointly invest EUR 11 million a year, or 80 - 100 jobs in the knowledge industry. “This will also reinforce our competitive position,” Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp points out. “It will promote economic growth and generate new jobs.”

Please follow the link to read more:

Prof. Feringa receives Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize

Posted on 2015-11-18

Prof. Feringa will today (18 November) be presented with the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize by Queen Mathilde of Belgium. He will be awarded the prize, which includes prize money of € 300,000, for his pioneering research into molecular motors.

‘I am absolutely delighted’, said Feringa. ‘This prize is awarded to people who have made a fundamental contribution to chemistry. It is obviously a huge honour to be considered one of them. But it also serves as recognition for my team and the scores of young researchers who have worked in my laboratories over the past years.’

Nobel Prizewinners in the jury

The prize is awarded by a jury of eminent scientists, including two winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The head judge is Håkan Wennerström, former chair of the Swedish Nobel committee for chemistry. The jury elects a winner from nominations made by top scientists and academic societies. This year’s prize has been awarded to Feringa for his pioneering research into molecular motors.

In 1999, Feringa published the first, light-propelled molecular motor that could accomplish full rotation. Fifty to sixty new motors followed, and 2011 his ‘molecular car’, comprising four motor molecules, featured on the cover of the scientific journal Nature.

Various applications

Feringa is also working on various other applications. ‘There is still a lot of work to do, but we are making good progress.’ For example, a molecular switch based on the motor molecule has been built into an antibiotic in order to switch it on or off as required. In addition, Feringa’s group also produced ‘molecular turbines’, which can be attached to a surface: a park of nano turbines that rotate when touched by light.

Regular breakthroughs

‘Countless groups are currently working on molecular switches and motors’, explains Feringa. But he still manages to make regular breakthroughs. In October of this year, he published an article in Nature Chemistry about the first non-symmetric molecular motor, which works in the same way as an axle with two wheels.

As well as his work on molecular motors, Feringa is also researching catalysts that induce chemical reactions in an environmentally sound manner, and developing ‘smart drugs’, such as the switchable antibiotic.

Second edition of the Solvay Prize

This is the second edition of the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize. In 2013, the prize went to Peter G. Schultz, professor at the Scripps Research Institute in California and Director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research, for his research conducted on the cutting edge of biology and chemistry. Schultz pioneered an artificial genetic code that allows new amino acids to be built into proteins.

Long tradition

The Solvay concern and the Solvay family have a long tradition of sponsoring fundamental research. Biennial Solvay Conferences in the field of physics and chemistry have been held for more than a century. Top scientists are invited to the conference to speak on specific topics. In 2007, Feringa attended a Solvay Conference about supramolecular chemistry and molecular motors, and he will attend the next edition in 2016, when catalysis will be on the programme.

More information
More information about the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize is available on the website:

Interview with Ben L. Feringa by Chemical Communication journal

Posted on 21-10-2015

Prof. Feringa had an interview with Chemical Communication journal recently. During the interview, he talked about how has his research evolved from his first to his most recent article, what aspect of his research is he most
excited about at the moment, etc. Besides scientific questions, he also described what he does in his spare time and gave some advice to young chemists.

For more details about the interview, please see the following link:!divAbstract

New facility for start-ups in the chemical sector will boost innovation on Zernike Campus

Posted on 28-9-15

Innolab Chemie, a new testing ground for start-up businesses in the chemical sector, was opened on the Zernike Campus Groningen on Saturday 26 September 2015.
Patrick Brouns, member of the Provincial Executive, Ben Feringa, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen, and Gerard van Harten, the figurehead of the Top Sector Chemistry, performed the opening ceremony.
Innolab Chemie provides start - up businesses in the chemical sector with general lab facilities such as fume cupboards, lab workbenches and office space.

Read more:

KNAW-symposium Magisch Licht

Posted on 02-10-15

Het verschijnsel licht belicht vanuit wetenschap en kunst

Dit jaar is het 200 jaar geleden dat Fresnel zijn theorie van licht als golf introduceerde. Het is 100 jaar na Einsteins relativiteitstheorie en 50 jaar na de ontdekking van de kosmische achtergrondstraling. Maar op welke manier houdt de wetenschap zich anno 2015 met licht bezig? Wat kunnen we bijvoorbeeld verwachten van ledverlichting, zonne-energie, onderzoek naar de beïnvloeding van gedrag door licht? En hoe verbeeld(d)en kunstenaars licht? Daarover gaat het symposium Magisch licht.
Naast lezingen vanuit verschillende vakgebieden zal Wim Brands tijdens dit symposium Roland Schimmel interviewen, kunstenaar en winnaar van de eerste Akademieprijs Astronomie en Kunst.
Datum & tijd: 5 oktober 2015, 14.00-17.15 uur
Plaats: Het Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam
Meer informatie: Website KNAW

Visit of Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn in September

Posted on 07-08-15

Prof. Lehn’s The Netherlands lectureship

Prof. Lehn will visit several locations during his lecture tour of The Netherlands and he will present his work and his views on the future of chemistry during a lecture entitled: “Perspectives in Chemistry: Towards Complex Matter”.

Friday 25th of September he will give a Stratingh Lecture at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry

Time: 15:00h – 16:30h
Lecture room 5161.0151

See this link for more information

Stratingh Award for Mickel Hansen

Posted on 22-6-2015

The prestigious Stratingh Award for the best colloquium for the year 2014 was awarded to group member Mickel Hansen.
Follow the link for a report:

Magazine Vrij Nederland

Posted on 15-6-15

Ben Feringa mentioned as "interesting person" in the issue of Vrij Nederland with topic Nerds 101 (text in Dutch)


‘In-the-box’ idea awarded €2M in NWO-TOP programme

Posted on 08-06-2015

Chemists from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Groningen are starting a large-scale collaboration on ‘Catalysis in Confined Spaces’, a TOP-PUNT project which was awarded EUR 2 million this week by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The aim is to learn how catalysts work in nano-structured spaces, which should result in more efficient and cleaner chemical processes and catalysis-driven nano-machines

This five-year project will research a simple yet baffling question: How does a catalyst work when it is constrained in a small ‘box’ of nanometer dimensions? This may seem trivial, but being ‘close to the wall’ is very different than being ‘in the middle of the crowd’, as any student who has been to a large music festival will tell you.

The groups of Profs. Gadi Rothenberg, Joost Reek ( Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, Amsterdam) and Ben Feringa (Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, Groningen) have joined forces to tackle this challenge. The grant will be used to fund eight PhD projects.

Please follow this link to the RuG website to read more:

Siegfried Hünig Vorlesung 2015

Posted on 08-06-2015

On the 21st of May Prof. Feringa presented his lecture "Dynamic Molecular Systems - from molecular switches to motors" at the Institute for Organic Chemistry of the University of Würzburg.
On this picture, from left to right:
Prof. Ben Feringa, Prof. Siegfried Hünig and Prof. Frank Würthner


Award for Jiawen Chen

Posted on 19-5-2015

Group member dr. Jiawen Chen has received the 2014 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad.
The ceremony was held on May 8th at the Chinese Embassy in The Hague. This award is founded by the Chinese government with the purpose of rewarding the academic excellence of Chinese students studying abroad.
Congratulations to Jiawen!


Upcoming promotion

Posted on 1-5-2015

Monday, May 11th
At 16:15 Thomas Pijper will defend his PhD thesis.
“Optically responsive switches. Under-standing and improving photochromic properties”.
Prof. dr. B.L. Feringa, Prof. dr. B.J. van Wees, Prof. Dr. W.R. Browne


"H20, the magic solvent"

Posted on 13-4-2015

On Friday the 10th of April a special symposium took place at RuG.
The symposium was organized in honor of em.Prof.dr. Jan Engberts.
Please follow below link to have a look at the impression (in Dutch) written by one of the attendees, Drs. Gerard Stout.

Upcoming promotion

Posted on 8-4-2015

Group member Massimo Giannerini will defend his thesis.

Date: Friday the 17th of April
Time: 11.00h

Title of his thesis:


Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award goes to Prof. Feringa

Posted on 2015-03-30

The Arthur C. Cope Scholar will be honored at the fall ACS national meeting in Boston, Aug. 16–20. At that meeting, the Cope Scholar will present an award address before the Division of Organic Chemistry.

Growing up on a farm in the Netherlands, Ben L. Feringa spent a lot of time thinking about the intersection of science and nature. “When I would go out into the fields with my father, we would talk about how plants grow from seeds and how nature evolves,” he recalls. But the thing that really hooked him on science, he says, was the thrill of discovery.

Now the Jacobus H. van’t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, Feringa says he still remembers the first time he made a molecule that never existed before. “I was really excited,” he says. “The beauty of chemistry is that I can design my own molecular world.”

Feringa’s molecular designs include the world’s first unidirectional molecular rotary motor—a molecule that spins in one direction only and is fueled by light. “This work has laid the groundwork for a crucial part of future molecular nanotechnology, specifically nanomachines and nanorobots powered by molecular motors,” comments organic chemistry expert and University of Texas, San Antonio, professor Michael P. Doyle.
Harvard University nanotechnology expert George M. Whitesides notes that Feringa demonstrated “extraordinary insight” when he doped a liquid-crystal film with his molecular motors. As the motors rotated, they perturbed the liquid crystal, causing it to change color. In doing so, Feringa demonstrated a visible macroscopic change spurred on by the motor molecules. “It was an experiment I wished that I had thought of,” Whitesides says.

Feringa has also made “groundbreaking contributions to asymmetric catalysis, including the first catalytic enantioselective conjugate addition of organometallic reagents, such as organozinc reagents, Grignard reagents, and organolithium reagents, with absolute levels of stereocontrol,” notes supramolecular chemistry expert E. W. (Bert) Meijer, of Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands. One of the ligands developed in Feringa’s lab, Meijer notes, is now used in an industrial hydrogenation process to produce a drug intermediate.

Feringa did his doctoral work with Hans Wynberg at Groningen. Instead of doing a postdoc, he took a job with Royal Dutch Shell, working in the company’s catalysis group. After six years in industry, he decided to enter academia because he was more eager to read the latest research paper than business proposals. “Working with students keeps you young,” Feringa says. “It’s a great privilege to work with bright young minds.”

Feringa has won numerous awards, including the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific honor in the Netherlands. Feringa grows his own vegetables, chops wood on Saturdays, and bikes about 18 miles each day. Although it’s tough to lure him away from the lab, one winter sport is a powerful draw. “As soon as there is ice on the lakes and canals in the north of Holland, I am not in the lab,” Feringa says. “I am out ice-skating.”—Bethany Halford

Upcoming promotions

Posted on 24-3-2015

PhD ceremony: Ms Maria Bastian
When: March 30, 2015
Start: 16:15
Where: Academy building RUG

Synthesis and Aggregation Behavior of Nature-Inspired Amphiphiles

Promotors: prof. dr. B.L Feringa and prof. dr. ir. A.J. Minnaard


Netherlands Catalysis and Chemistry Award 2015 for Ben Feringa

Posted on 11-3-2015

Ben Feringa has been awarded the Netherlands Catalysis and Chemistry Award 2015. The jury called Feringa ‘one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of chemical research’.

The award is conferred every five years on a researcher in the Netherlands or Belgium for significant achievements in catalysis over the last decade. From the nine nominees, the jury chose Feringa for his groundbreaking research, in particular on stereochemistry, homogenous catalysis, supramolecular chemistry and molecular nanotechnology.

2 new press releases on the University website

Posted on 29-1-2015

Have a look at 2 new press releases on the University of Groningen website regarding the thesis of Jiawen Chen.

Molecular machines move to a new level
New molecular machines are textbook stuff

EMBO and Rubicon fellowship awarded to Willem Velema

Posted on 13-1-2015

An EMBO Long-term fellowship and a NWO Rubicon fellowship have been awarded to Dr. Willem Velema to support his postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Prof. Eric Kool at Stanford University. His research will focus on the development of a sensor for a DNA-repair enzyme, which eventually might be used as a diagnostic tool to personalize cancer treatment.

Upcoming promotions

Posted on 12-1-2015

2 Group members will soon defend their thesis.

On Friday the 30th of January at 11.00h:
Jiawen Chen
Title of thesis: Advanced Molecular Devices Based on Light-driven Molecular Motors
(please note: location is Martini church,
not the Academy Building as usual)

On Friday the 13th of February at 16.15h:
Jort Robertus
Title of thesis: Multifunctional photochromic molecular switches based on azaobenzenes, dithienylethenes and hemithioindigos - synthesis and applications



Posted on 2014-11-19

On 17 and 18 November, Feringa group joined the CHAINS 2014 conference at Veldhoven.


Upcoming promotions

Posted on 13-11-2014

3 Group members will defend their thesis.

On the 21st of November:
Derk Jan van Dijken (11.00h)
Title: Responsive Supramolecular Systems
Also on the 21st of November:
Wim Velema (16.15h)
Title: Photopharmacology

On the 28th of November:
Kuang-Yen Chen (16.15h)
Title: Multivalent Molecular Motors For Surface Attachments


Highly Cited Researcher

Posted on 2014-10-24

THOMSON REUTERS Highly cited reseacher presented to Prof. Ben Feringa in recognition of ranking among the top 1% of researchers for most cited documents, in their specific field.


Theodor Forster Memorial Lecture 2014, Prof. Ben Feringa

Posted on 2014-10-21

The Division of Photochemistry of the German Chemical Society and the Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry honour on the occassion of the Lecture Conference in Cologue Prof. Ben Feringa with the Theodor Forster Memorial Lecture 2014.


Dance of chemistry

Posted on 2014-09-30

Dance your PhD 2014 - Photoswitchable zinc-finger


A video interview of Dr. Sander Wezenberg

Posted on 2014-09-10

Dr. Sander Wezenberg was recently awarded a Veni grant. The University of Groningen had an interview with him two weeks ago. During the interview, he talked about his upcoming project "supramolecular detection and photodynamic control of substrate chirality".


Arthur C. Cope scholar award for Prof. Ben L. Feringa

Posted on Aug. 11, 2014

The American Chemical Society has selected Ben Feringa as a recipient of a 2015 Arthur C. Cope Late Career Scholars Award sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund. The award is in recognition for ground breaking research on dynamic molecular systems and stereochemistry, specifically the design of light-driven rotary molecular motors and phosphoramidites for asymmetric catalysis.


Floris Wolff (SIB Groningen chairman), Prof. Ben Feringa , Prof. Carl Djerassi en Rector Prof. Elmer Sterken

Prof.Carl Djerassi father of oral contraception visit University of Groningen

Posted on May 12, 2014

Prof. Carl Djerassi, retired Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, is today visiting the University of Groningen and the UMCG. Djerassi gained global notoriety as the man who invented oral contraception. Djerassi and his research team were the first to characterize and synthesize the active ingredient in what would later become known as ‘the pill’.


Veni grants awarded to Sander Wezenberg

Posted on 2014-07-30

A Veni grant as part of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme run by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the universities awarded to Dr. S.J. (Sander) Wezenberg for his project "Controlling molecular handedness". The personal Veni grants are worth up to a maximum of € 250,000 and enable talented researchers who have just completed a PhD to conduct research of their own choice.


Workweek 2014 in Strasbourg

Posted on 02-06-2014

From June 2nd to June 5th, the Feringa-Harutyunyan-Otten-Barta research groups joined the Workweek 2014 which was held in Strasbourg, France. The joint symposium with ISIS (Institut de Science et d'Ingenierie Supramolecularies), including lectures and poster sessions, was a great success. The symposium was followed by several social activities. Together with the ISIS students we played some soccer- and basketball matches and closed the day with a very nice BBQ. The traditional "bonte avond" was held on the third night of the workweek. After the last social activity (tree climbing) at Kletterwald Spayer, the whole group returned to Groningen with lots of great memories.


A milestone of Prof. Feringa

Posted on 16-05-2014

On the 23th of December 2013 Prof. Feringa reached a milestone - he was promotor a 100 times.
To celebrate this event a special symposium for the promovendi and research groups was held on the 16th of May.


Professor Feringa visited Boston College

Posted on April 02-04, 2014

Professor Ben Feringa was invited to Boston College USA for the University Lecture Series in Chemistry.
On the 2nd of April he presented a lecture titled “Exploring Chiral Space in Asymmetric Synthesis”.
On the 3rd of April he gave a talk about “Catalytic Asymmetric C-C bond Formation”.
And finally, on the 4th of April, he discussed “Dynamic Molecular Systems; from switches to motors” which concluded his 3-day visit to Boston College.


Ben Feringa winner of Nagoya Gold Medal 2013

Posted on 7 November 2013

Prof. Ben L. Feringa has been awarded the prestigious Nagoya Gold Medal 2013.
The Nagoya Gold Medal prize, which was established in 1995, is awarded every year to an Organic Chemist, who has made significant original contributions to the field in the broadest sense. It is presented at the Nagoya medal symposium in Nagoya, Japan.
The award lectures took place at the Symposium in Nagoya, November 7th.

Angew. Int. Ed. 52, 45, 11693-11694 (2013) (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201307536)

Yamada-Koga prize 2013 awarded to Ben Feringa at Symposium in Tokyo

Posted on 1 November 2013

The Yamada - Koga Prize medal is awarded each year to a scientist whose research had a major impact world-wide in the field of synthesis of optically active compounds. It was established in 1995 and is presented in Tokyo at the Japanese Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The award address and the symposium took place in Tokyo, November 1st.


Antibiotics: Light-sensitive drugs to tackle hardy bugs

Posted on 7 October 2013

The prevalent use of antibiotics in medicine and livestock rearing is leading to more and more bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotic treatments. When dangerous strains of bacteria develop resistance against our last resort antibiotics, a gloomy future beckons. Limiting the activity of antibiotic agents to where it is needed could go a long way to contain this problem.
Within the research group of Ben Feringa novel methods of controlling the activity of antibiotic agents are being developed. Using light, this activity can be regulated both temporally and locally.
In October 2013 a paper was published in Nature Chemistry regarding these results, and on the BBC website this work was highlighted.

BBC future
Nature Chemistry, 5, 924-928 (2013)

Feringa recipient of Maria-Sklodowska Curie Medal

Posted on 16 September 2013

The Polish Chemical Society has awarded Prof. Ben Feringa the Maria-Sklodowska Curie medal, its highest distinction for foreign scientists. The medal is awarded to a chemist who works abroad for outstanding scientific achievements in chemistry of world-wide significance and for contributions to Polish chemists. Prof. Feringa received the medal during the opening ceremony of the 56th Polish Chemical Society Congress on 16 September, 2013, in Siedlce, Poland.

Polish Chemical Society Awards :: ChemistryViews
Excursion to Geghard Monastery

Michael Doyle, Bert Meijer, Helma Wennemers, Ben Feringa, and Stephen Hanessian (from left to right) during the cultural excursion to the Geghard Monastery.

ArmChemFront 2013

Posted on 1 September 2013

The ArmChemFront 2013 international chemistry conference, co-chaired by Prof. Ben Feringa, was a highly successful. Held from 25-29 August in Yerevan, Armenia, the conference hosted participants from over 20 countries all over the world, including many from the Caucasus region. The high level of the scientific program, together with a varied cultural program, made for a memorable event.

ArmChemFront 2013 official website

Ben Feringa new Vice President of KNAW

Posted on September 27th, 2011

On June 1st, Prof. Ben Feringa was appointed Vice President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The new Vice President, together with the new Board of KNAW, was installed on Monday September 26th.

Prof. dr. Hans Wijnberg

In Memoriam Prof. Dr. Hans Wijnberg (1922-2011)

Posted on 2 June 2011

On May 25th, 2011 Prof. Dr. Hans Wijnberg passed away in his house in Midlaren. In 1960, Prof. Wijnberg became director of the Organic Chemistry Laboratory (now part of the Stratingh Institute) at that time located in the Bloemsingel. Under his leadership the Groningen Department of Organic Chemistry grew over the years into the world fame laboratory that it is now. Prof. Wijnberg was a highly respected scientist, especially in the field of stereochemistry, and a pioneer in asymmetric organocatalysis.

In Memoriam - Professor Hans Wijnberg
Obituary at Chemical & Engineering News
Obituary by Ben Feringa and Ben Meijer (Angew. Int. Ed.)
Chemistry Tree - Hans Wijnberg