Nobeltrio visits Groningen
Feringa & friends
The laureates are together in Groningen for the first time since winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016. The conference guests at cultural centre De Oosterpoort welcome the Nobel Prize winners with a long and loud applause.
The honoured guests receive the new book ‘Real Nano’, written by science journalist Martijn van Calmthout. It concerns the development of molecules into nano machines. As a joke, Van Calmthout also gives them the book in nano size: it is just a few millimetres tall.
The first speaker at the conference is the Groningen-born Bert Meijer. Meijer is an organic chemist and used to work with Feringa. He shows several old pictures of the Nobel Prize winner, to the delight of the audience.
The guests at the conference are a mixed bunch: celebrated professors mingle with promising PhD students and post-docs. They come from all over the world, from a variety of universities. All of them get the opportunity to talk to the laureates at the conference.
On Tuesday, the Nobel Prize winners visit the Academy building. It’s raining slightly in Groningen, but fortunately there are umbrellas.
The Board of Directors at the University of Groningen receives the Nobel Prize winners. The honoured guests walk the red carpet, flanked by students.
At seventy-five years old, Sir James Fraser Stoddart is a fervent tweeter (@sirfrasersays). He takes photos and sends out tweets during all the lectures. He shows his appreciation for a previous RUG Nobel Prize winner.
Jean-Pierre Sauvage sets up his presentation in the back of the auditorium in the Academy building. His lecture is about molecular topology and the synthesis of catenanes and molecular knots.
The enlarged model of the nano car – Feringa’s spectacular invention that got him the Nobel Prize – measures six by four and a half metres. In reality, the molecular car with a four-wheel drive is smaller than a millionth of a millimetre.
Photographer Jos Jansen was granted access to Feringa’s lab for a photo series. This resulted in the photo exposition Playground in the Der Aa church. According to Feringa, universities should act as playgrounds for scientists so they can follow their own curiosity.
Nobel Prize winners Ben Feringa, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, and Sir James Fraser Stoddart were together for the first time in Groningen for the Molecular Machines Nobel Prize conference: a scientific conference about the smallest machines in the world. A photo report.