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Scientist Forges the Future of Nanotechnology

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image courtesy Ben Feringa
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Dr. Bernard L. "Ben" Feringa spoke this fall at UW-Milwaukee.

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s ushered in a new era of large motors that continued for more than a century.  But for the last couple of decades, a revolution in nanotechnology has begun to supplant that earlier engineering work.

Doctor Ben Feringa's work has been at the heart of the nanotech revolution.  Feringa, who is a professor of chemistry at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on nano-sized motors.  While some of his work is still in a theoretical framework, he believes its applications may soon be evident by all of us - in surprising ways.

"In the future, if you can imagine, you'll use these tiny machines," Feringa says. "You'll get a scratch in your car, light comes in, it opens, and it repairs itself."

Feringa gave the Nobel Lecture at UW-Milwaukee earlier this fall, speaking about nanotechnology, imagination, and science education.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.