Professor Ben Feringa, who won the Nobel Prize in 2016 for his research on the development of molecular motors, delivers the inaugural Ben Feringa Lecture virtually on November 20.


Professor Ben Feringa, Dutch Nobel Prize winner and professor in organic chemistry at the University of Groningen, gave an online lecture on November 20. The lecture was the kick-of the first annual Ben Feringa Lecture series which is part of the Holland in the Valley program and was organized by the University of Groningen, and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco.

In his lecture, the Nobel Prize laureate spoke lively about his interest for discovery at an early age, and about his passion for molecules and chemistry that led to winning the Nobel Prize for his research on the development of molecular motors in 2016.

Check out this video that explains his award-winning research:

During the lecture, Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering and material science at Stanford University, joined Professor Feringa for a lively fireside chat in which the two discussed a wide range of topics, such as the importance of knowledge and the power of international cooperation between scientists and scientific institutes in times of Covid.

They talked about the importance to work with people from different backgrounds in research groups, as they bring in different cultures and perspectives that are important for the advancement of science, and discussed the relationship between university and industry.

The lecture ended with an animated Q&A session. One of the participants, a chemistry student, asked Professor Feringa what kind of books he read to understand the world outside of chemistry. The Nobel laureate answered that he reads Nature, history books about painters and artists like Leonardo da Vinci, that he was impressed by Charles Mann’s “1493,” but that he also likes to read Donald Duck.

The event was live-streamed on YouTube and had 1600 viewers from around the world.