Prof. Ben Feringa
Ben L. Feringa received his PhD degree from the University of Groningen in 1978 with Professor Hans Wynberg on the topic of asymmetric phenol oxidation. He was a research scientist with Royal Dutch Shell, both at the Shell Research Center in Amsterdam and at the Shell Biosciences Laboratories in Sittingbourne, UK, from 1978 to 1984. He joined the department of chemistry at the University of Groningen in 1984 as a lecturer and was appointed full Professor at the same University in 1988.
In 2003 he was appointed Jacobus H. van ´t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences.
His research interests focus on catalysis, the control of dynamic processes and the design of molecular systems which combine several molecular components working in concert to perform complex and integrated functions at different hierarchical levels. The full potential of synthetic chemistry is exploited to create new structures and functions with a strong focus on stereochemistry. The current research program of the Feringa group includes organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis and catalytic enantioselective total synthesis , molecular switches and motors, self-assembly, nanosystems and smart organic materials. Other interest include origin of chirality and biomimetic systems. His group has introduced monodentate phosphoramidites as priviliged chiral ligands in asymmetric catalysis, discovered catalytic asymmetric conjugate addition methodology and designed chiroptical molecular switches and unidirectional rotary molecular motors.
He was visiting professor at the Universities of Leuven, Santiago de Compostella and Potenza, awarded a JSPS fellowship and the Novartis lectureship at the University of Colorado. Achievements in fundamental research on synthesis, asymmetric catalysis and molecular nanotechnology have been awarded among others with the 1997 Pino gold medal of the Italian Chemical Society, Novartis Chemistry Lectureship Award 2000-2001, the joined 2003 Koerber European Science Award (750 kE), the 2003 Guthikonda Award (Columbia University), the 2004 Dauben Lectureship (Berkeley), the Marvel Lectureship (University Illinois), the Gassmann Lectureship (Minnesota), the Schmidt Memorial Lectureship (Weizmann Institute), the Solvias Ligand contest award (Switzerland, 2005), the Prelog gold medal for Stereochemistry (ETH-Zurich, 2005) and the 2007 James Flack Norrish Award in Physical Organic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.
In 2004 he was elected Foreign Honory Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2006 elected Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Recently he received the Spinoza Award (1.5 mE), the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research.
Professor Feringa is cofounder of the contract research company SELACT, the founding Scientific Editor of the RSC journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry (2002-2006) and serves on the editorial (advisory) board of other journals. He is elected president of the Burgenstock Conference 2009.
Academic and Industrial Career
Undergraduate and graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Groningen.
PhD at Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Groningen, Thesis: Asymmetric Oxidations of Phenols; supervisor Prof. Dr. Hans Wynberg.
1978-1982 Research Chemist (organic synthesis, oxidation processes, photochemistry), Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Laboratories, Amsterdam.
1979-1982 Lecturer Amsterdam (Hogere Analistenschool).
1982-1983 Research Chemist (Herbicides research), Shell Biosciences Laboratories, Sittingbourne, UK.
1983-1984 Project Leader Homogeneous Catalysis, Shell Research Laboratories, Amsterdam.
1984-1988 Lecturer Organic Chemistry, University of Groningen.
1988- Appointed successor of Prof. Dr. H. Wynberg; chair of Organic Chemistry, Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Groningen.
1991-1995 Chairman Department Organic and Molecular Inorganic Chemistry
2003- Director Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
2003- Appointed: Jacobus H. van ´t Hoff Distinguished Professor in Molecular Sciences