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.