CNN-featured chemist at Mount Allison on Thursday

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Feringa considered a leader in his field

Internationally-recognized chemist Ben Feringa will speak at Mount Allison University on Thursday.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Mount Allison University will welcome internationally-renowned chemist Ben Feringa to campus this month.

Feringa will deliver a public lecture entitled The art of building small: from molecular switches to molecular motors on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Avard-Dixon building, room G12.

“We are pleased to welcome Ben Feringa to Mount Allison. He is a leader in his field and his talk will be a wonderful opportunity for our students and community members to hear some of the latest developments in the area of nanotechnology,” Mount Allison chemistry professor Dr. Glen Briand said.

Feringa is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s most creative and productive chemists, having achieved breakthroughs in various fields of chemistry, including organic synthesis, catalysis, supramolecular chemistry, and nanotechnology.

Feringa’s research made international headlines, including on CNN, in 2011 when his research team built the world’s smallest electric car — the size of a single molecule — demonstrating that single molecules can absorb external electrical energy and turn this into targeted motion. This study was a significant milestone in nanotechnology research — bringing scientists closer to understanding how nature’s molecular motors work in our cells and carry out processes such as muscle movement and cell division.

His 1999 discovery of the ‘molecular motor,’ a light-driven rotating molecule, is also recognized as a world-class breakthrough with many applications. One potentially wide-spread application would be the use of molecular motors in the bloodstream to help deliver drugs, with a high degree of accuracy, to previously unreachable locations in the human body.

Feringa will be in New Brunswick to attend the Atlantic Inorganic Discussion Weekend, being held in Moncton and organized in part by Mount Allison from March 22 to 23. The annual event provides an opportunity to highlight the quality research carried out by undergraduate and graduate students in the Atlantic provinces. Several Mount Allison chemistry students will be presenting their research over the weekend.


Organizations: Mount Allison University, University of Groningen

Geographic location: Netherlands, New Brunswick, Moncton

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