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Ever since my study time in Groningen with professor Wijnberg, I’ve fallen in love with molecules. Why ‘in love’? There is a rational and an emotional side. The rational side is that chemists, through the ages, have made a lot of new molecules that allow us to live on this earth with this many people. New drugs, new materials, new catalysts, healthy food: all the consequence of chemical science. What is the emotional side? Well, you cannot see molecules, but they float through my brain. I think they are beautiful: I am in love with them. I am mainly interested in the dynamics of molecules. In a solid, the molecules are set, but in a cell the molecules are constantly moving around. I want to understand the movement of an ensemble of molecules. I want to control that they are set for a certain amount of time and then make them able to move freely. That gives a material that is very strong, but if you want to remove it, it is very dynamic. It allows for new ways to use these dynamics, but it also has a scientific point of view. Aren’t we interested in where life on earth came from? Because life is nothing but an ocean of millions of different molecules, that are intereacting with each other in a dynamic process. That is what you want with synthetic systems as well. We call this supramolecular, lifelike materials. That is what the future gives us. That is what I want to contribute to.

IN LOVE WITH MOLECULES
BERT MEIJERPROFILE
Eindhoven University of Technology

Through the ages, chemists have made a lot of new molecules that allow us to live on this earth with this many people. New drugs, new materials, healthy food: all the consequence of chemical science. Bert Meijer talks about his love for molecules.

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