Nicolaas Louis Söhngen

Geniaal microbioloog en gewaardeerd Rector Magnificus

Nicolaas Söhngen graduated in 1902 in Delft, where he had studied chemistry under Professor S. Hoogewerff. In July 1906,
he received his doctorate cum laude from Prof. Dr. M.W. Beijerinck for a thesis on the influence of organic life on hydrogen and methane.

Söhngen worked for a margarine factory for several years, before returning to Delft in 1912. He worked in the laboratory of his former supervisor Beyerinck until 1915. Then he became director of the microbiological laboratory of the National Agricultural Testing Station in Groningen. In 1918, he was appointed professor of microbiology at the Agricultural College in Wageningen. At the time of his appointment, the construction of a new laboratory was promised and Söhngen devoted himself to making it as complete and future-proof as possible. His patience was put to the test, but in 1922 the laboratory was finally completed.

In 1928-1929, Söhngen was Rector Magnificus of Wageningen and highly esteemed as such. During the last years of his life, he focused his research and experiments on the problem ofmitogenetic rays. He died at the age of 56, his colleagues mourned the loss of an original, unconventional engineer with a great heart for science.

Dr. Nicolaas Söhngen is receiving this award because of his pioneering work as a microbiologist and his great influence as professor and Rector Magnificus of Wageningen University.