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Scientist Forges the Future of Nanotechnology

image courtesy Ben Feringa
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.

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