Officials with materials maker Solvay SA will be saying “We told you so” about Ben Feringa for years to come.
Feringa, a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, just won a 2016 Nobel Prize for chemistry — along with with France's Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Fraser Stoddart of the United Kingdom — for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.
The honor comes less than a year after Feringa won Solvay's Chemistry for the Future Prize for his work on unidirectional molecular motors, a research field that paves the way to new therapeutic and technological applications with nanorobots. Officials with Brussels-based Solvay described Feringa at the time as "one of the most creative chemists of the present day."
"We are thrilled that Ben Feringa is among the winners of the Nobel Prize, the ultimate recognition that so many scientists dream of,” Solvay CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu said in an Oct. 5 news release. “This makes us at Solvay particularly proud to have rewarded him the Solvay Prize and contribute to further advance his research."
Solvay first awarded its Chemistry for the Future Prize in 2013 to mark the firm's 150th anniversary and to continue founder Ernest Solvay's commitment as a dedicated and inspired supporter of scientific research. The prize of 300,000 euros ($335,000) aims to recognize every other year a major scientific discovery that lays the foundation of the chemistry of the future while promoting human progress.
The Nobel Prize also comes with cash attached: 8 million Swedish Krona — or about $927,000 — which is split among the recipients for each prize.
So congratulations to both Professor Feringa and to Solvay. But we have to admit this makes us wonder if Solvay can predict other things. The winner of the next World Cup, perhaps?