2010/11 Stefan W. Hell

The 2010/11 Gothenburg Lise Meitner prize is awarded to Professor Stefan W Hell, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Department of NanoBiophotonics for the development of new methods in microscopy. He was the first one to suggest and experimentally find a method of beating the diffraction limited resolution in light microscopy. He took his PhD in Physics 1990 in Heidelberg and is now director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.

The Nomination Committee's motivation

"Professor Hell is bestowed the prize for his ground breaking development of light microscopy and its applications in biological settings. Apart from scientific excellence, he has taken on the challenge of bridging borders between different scientific disciplines to address important problems - not always the easiest task. Nanobiophotonics is an area where both Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg are active and where Professor Hell has been a constant source of inspiration through his development of new techniques."

Abstract “Nanoscopy with focused light”

For more than a century, it has been widely accepted that diffraction of light precludes any lens-based optical microscope from discerning details smaller than about half of the wavelength of light (~200 nm). However, in the 1990’s it was discovered that basic state transitions of the investigated material, here fluorescent samples, can be exploited to eliminate the resolution-limiting role of diffraction. Since then, fluorescence microscopes have been developed that are now able to resolve on the nanometer scale using regular lenses. We discuss the basic principles of these nanoscopy (superresolution) concepts with particular emphasis on the first viable far-field ‘nanoscopy’ method, STED microscopy. We show their scope of applications in the life and material sciences, and give fundamental insights into their physical principles of operation.
Hell, S. W. (2007): "Far-Field Optical Nanoscopy". Science 316, 1153 - 1158.
Hell, S. W.(2009): "Far-Field Optical Nanoscopy". Book chapter in: Single Molecule Spectroscopy in Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Springer (Berlin, Germany), 365 - 398. www.nanoscopy.de

Previous prestigeous awards

2000     ICO Prize awarded by the International Commission for Optics (ICO)
2001     Helmholtz-Prize for metrology (co-recipient)
2002     Innovation Award of Leibinger-Foundation
2002     Carl-Zeiss Research Award awarded by the Ernst-Abbe-Fonds
2002     Karl-Heinz Beckurts-Prize awarded by the Karl Heinz Beckurts Foundation
2004     Gottlieb Daimler- and Karl Benz Prize, Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
2006     Innovation Award of the German President (Zukunftspreis des Bundespräsidenten)
2007     Cozzarelli Prize awarded by the Proc. Natl. Acad. Sc. USA
2007     Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics
2008     Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Council (DFG)
2008     Lower Saxony State Award (Niedersächsischer Staatspreis)
2009     Otto Hahn Prize, German Chemical Society, the German Physical Society, City of Frankfurt/Main
2010     Ernst-Hellmut-Vits-Prize
2011     Hansen Family Award

Published: Tue 14 Jan 2014. Modified: Thu 16 Jan 2014