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The 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry is visiting the UNamur!

Today, the University of Namur was hosting Prof. Bernard Feringa (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry.  Prof. Feringa is in Belgium for the International Chair in Chemistry of the Solvay Institutes.

Our Rector, Prof. Naji Habra welcomed him together with Professors Stéphane Vincent and Bao-Lian Su, department of chemistry (NISM Institute).  His close ties with Prof A. Krief naturally lead him to drop by in Namur.

I very much appreciate to come to Namur, as I admire the diversity and the quality of the research and also the nice atmosphere.”

100 researchers in chemistry, biology, physics and pharmacy enjoyed his conference entitled « Exploring catalytic space ».


His first words after listening to our rector, who mentioned his poor knowledge of chemistry in his welcome talk, were "If you look for life, look for chirality".

Chirality is a geometric property of molecules, which explains our right and left hands have different functions and mobility.  Symbolized by a "chirality recognition" handshake.  

Exploring catalysis

From fundamental research to the challenges and perspectives for industry and society, catalysis is at the heart of all chemical processes.  It plays a major role in numerous fields, enables to make sustainable products, reduce costs and accelerates the enhancing processes as far as improving the pharmaceutic molecules or creating materials of the future.

After pointing out that errors have often enabled numerous discoveries, some of them thanks to his own students, which enabled progress in his research, Prof. Feringa ended his talk with a message to (young) researchers: “Follow your dream, be confident, discover your energy, discover your limit, research is an adventure in the unknown”.

Besides receiving the prestigious Nobel Prize, Prof Ben Feringa's research has been recognized with a number of awards.  His research interest includes stereochemistry, organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis, optopharma, molecular switches and motors, self-assembly and molecular nanosystems.

He should be back in Namur for the 17th edition of the BOSS Congress (Belgian Organic Synthesis Symposium) which will take place from 5 to 10 July 2020 at the UNamur.

K.D., 12/04/19