Bernard L. Feringa Biography

Posted by | Vishnu Das on | June 1, 2024

Date of Birth

18 / May / 1951


73 Years


Synthetic Organic Chemist

Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa, renowned as a synthetic organic chemist, has left an indelible mark on the field of chemistry with his pioneering work in molecular switches, motors, homogeneous catalysis, stereochemistry, and photochemistry.

Bernard L. Feringa Age, Wife, Biography, & More

Born on May 18, 1951, his groundbreaking research has earned him international recognition, culminating in the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016. Feringa’s innovative contributions have revolutionized our understanding of molecular dynamics and paved the way for novel applications in nanotechnology and materials science.

Early Life

Bernard L. Feringa spent his early years immersed in the rural lifestyle of Barger-Compascuum village, where his father managed a farm and actively participated in community endeavors. His family’s involvement in agriculture, including animal husbandry and horticulture, provided Feringa with a strong foundation rooted in practicality and diligence.

Moreover, his familial roots trace back to the great Bourtanger moor, underscoring a connection to the land and its traditions. These formative experiences instilled in Feringa a deep appreciation for hard work and community engagement, shaping his character and guiding his future pursuits in academia and chemistry.


His education at the Katholiek Drents College in the Netherlands before advancing to the University of Groningen, where he obtained his MSc degree in Chemistry in 1974. He furthered his academic journey at the same institution, earning his PhD in 1978.


He was born on May 18, 1951 (Friday) in Barger-Compascuum, Netherlands, Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist. He is 73 years old, his zodiac sign is Taurus.

Physical Stats

Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa stands approximately 5′ 8″ (173 cm) tall, with captivating blue eyes and brown hair.

Wife and Children

Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa is married to Betty Feringa. Together, they have three daughters: Femke, who is a cell biologist; Hannah, who holds a PhD in food allergies; and Emma. Their familial bond reflects a supportive environment that likely contributed to Feringa’s success as a pioneering chemist.


Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa was born to Geert Feringa (1918–1993) and Elizabeth Hake (1924–2013). He was the second of ten siblings, growing up in a large and presumably close-knit family environment. The support and dynamics within this familial context likely played a significant role in shaping Feringa’s personal and professional journey.

Bernard L. Feringa wife Betty Feringa

Bernard L. Feringa wife Betty Feringa


Bernard L. Feringa’s illustrious career is characterized by groundbreaking contributions to the field of chemistry, particularly in the realm of molecular dynamics and nanotechnology. After completing his PhD at the University of Groningen, he ascended to the position of Full Professor, where he embarked on pioneering research in stereochemistry and photochemistry.

His seminal work led to the development of the world’s first light-driven molecular rotary motor and molecular cars propelled by electrical impulses. Feringa’s innovative discoveries revolutionized our understanding of molecular machinery and opened new avenues for the development of nanoscale technologies with transformative applications in medicine, materials science, and beyond.

Additionally, his prolific publication record, extensive patent portfolio, and leadership roles in prestigious scientific journals underscore his profound impact and enduring legacy in the scientific community.

Net Worth

Bernard L. Feringa’s net worth is not publicly disclosed.

Some Lesser Known Facts About Bernard L. Feringa

  • From 2002 to 2006, he was the founding Scientific Editor of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal titled Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
  • He is an advisory board member for the Journal of Organic Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society (published by the American Chemical Society).
  • In 2008, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands appointed him as Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
  • He has published more than 600 research papers and holds 30 patents.
  • He made a record in 1997 when he completed the 200 km long-distance tour skating in 12 hours.
  • His most significant contribution to Chemistry is his work on molecular switches and motors based on asymmetric catalysis, stereochemistry, and dynamic molecular systems.
  • Feringa discovered some tiny switches and motors made of molecules. These molecules can change shape and move in one direction, like how our eyes work. His work is important for making tiny machines for the future.
  • These tiny switches and motors can be used in many ways. They can make materials that respond to light or electricity, help deliver medicine to our bodies, and even fight diseases like cancer and antibiotic resistance.
  • Feringa’s work also involves using special chemicals to make reactions happen in a specific way. This helps in making medicines and other useful chemicals more efficient.
  • Apart from switches and motors, Feringa has also worked on many other things like using light to control reactions, making gels, and studying how things stick together on surfaces.
  • After completing his PhD at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1978, he was appointed as a lecturer at the same university in 1984. In 1988, he was promoted to the position of Full Professor.
  • In 1866, his grandfather’s family moved from Emsland, a few miles across the German-Dutch border, to the great Bourtanger moor, a remote area in the northeastern Netherlands. They were involved in farming and digging peat.

Check Also: Jean-Pierre Sauvage

Body Measurements Not Known
Birth Place Barger-Compascuum, Netherlands
Children Daughters: Femke, Hannah, Emma
Eye Color Blue
Hair Color Brown
Height In CM 173 CM
Height In Meter 1.73 M
Nationality Dutch
Parents Father: Geert Feringa, Mother: Elizabeth Hake
Profession Synthetic Organic Chemist
Siblings Name not Known
Spous Betty Feringa
Weight Not Known
Zodiac Sign Taurus


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