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Prof. Ben L. Feringa, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, attended the 137th Master Distinguished Lecture


On Oct 30th, 2019, Prof. Ben L. Feringa, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, vice-president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, Foreign Honory member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, attended the 137th Master Distinguished Lecture and delivered a lecture titled The Art of Building Small.

Before the lecture, Prof. Kuiling Ding, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and executive vice president of SJTU, awarded the appointment certificate of Honorary Professor to Prof. Feringa. All the faculties and students witnessed this important moment.

At the beginning, Prof. Feringa vividly narrated his personal experience, from exploring the nature with curiosity in the childhood to designing the first molecule of his own and to becoming a world-renowned scientist. He believed that scientific research was a life-long marathon, which required both the cooperation of researchers and the everlasting passion for the unknown. Taking various biological nanomaterials for instance, he outlined their applications in antibiosis and cancer treatment. Based on the research background, Prof. Feringa introduced his work on molecular switches and motors.

Prof. Feringa summarized that molecular machine is flourishing and has a promising future in intelligent drugs, soft robots, intelligent materials etc.. Meantime, he placed deep expectations on young students and encouraged them to stay confident, tap potentials, keep passion for scientific research and pursue their dreams bravely.

In the Q&A session, Prof. Feringa answered questions about the connection between science and nature, light penetration through tissues, how molecular machines move in a definite orbit, different properties of molecular motors in monomer and aggregate states. His answers not only solved the students’ puzzles but also motivated them to pursue research careers.


Guest profile
Prof. Ben L. Feringa, born in 1951 in Netherlands, obtained his PhD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands under the guidance of Prof. Hans Wynberg. After working as a research scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and at the Shell Biosciences Centre in the UK, he was appointed lecturer and in 1988 full professor at the University of Groningen and named the Jacobus H. van't Hoff distinguished professor of Molecular Sciences in 2004. He was elected foreign honory member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is member and vice-president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2008 he was appointed academy professor and was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands.

Feringa's research interest includes stereochemistry, organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis, molecular switches and motors, self-assembly and molecular nanosystems. In 1999, his research group reported the first synthetic molecular motors, which provided a brand new idea for the research of molecular machine. In 2016, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean Pierre Sauvage and James Fraser Stoddart for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

Author: Qian LI
Translator: Chenyun SUN
Reviser: Xiaoke HU