Nobel Prize awarded

RUG professor Ben Feringa has received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. During the formal awards ceremony, Feringa was given the golden medal by King Carl Gustaf of Sweden.
By Tim Bakker / Translation by Traci White / Images from

Feringa received the prize together with two of his fellow chemists: Jean-Pierre Sauvage (left in the photo below) and Sir Fraser Stoddart (middle).

Olof Ramström spoke on behalf of the Nobel Prize committee about the importance of machines, ‘which have helped humanity to achieve things beyond our own capabilities for centuries’. The development of machines experienced a boom time during the industrial revolution, after which machines became progressively smarter and smaller, according to Ramström.

‘New, smaller machines, one-thousandth the width of a human hair, will continue to bring us further. The three laureates have made exceptional contributions to these developments’, Ramström concluded. Feringa’s research played an unmistakable role in the field. ‘Motor components are an essential part of molecular machines, and Feringa’s team has succeeded in providing a playful example of a molecular car that can be driven.’

Chairman of the Nobel Foundation, Carl-Henrik Heldin, spoke prior to the ceremony about the importance of science and literature. He expressed his dismay that it is no longer a given that people believe in science and that some politicians in Europe and the United States go so far as to deny it altogether.

No Bob Dylan

During the ceremony, the prizes for physics, medicine, literature and economics were also awarded to seven other recipients in total. Bob Dylan, this year’s literature prize winner, was not present to receive his medal.

Feringa was not the only Dutch person present on stage in Stockholm. Violinist Janine Janssen played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Stockholm to provide the musical accompaniment during the ceremony.



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