Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014 announced
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014 to
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA, USA,
Stefan W. Hell
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany
William E. Moerner
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
“for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”
--> The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday that for a long time, optical microscopy was held back by a presumed limitation: that it would never obtain a better resolution than half the wavelength of light.
--> Helped by fluorescent molecules, the Nobel laureates in Chemistry 2014 ingeniously circumvented this limitation. Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nano dimension.
--> In what has become known as nanoscopy, scientists visualize the pathways of individual molecules inside living cells. They can see how molecules create synapses between nerve cells in the brain; they can track proteins involved in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases as they aggregate; they follow individual proteins in fertilized eggs as these divide into embryos.
--> It was all but obvious that scientists should ever be able to study living cells in the tiniest molecular detail. In 1873, the microscopist Ernst Abbe stipulated a physical limit for the maximum resolution of traditional optical microscopy: it could never become better than 0.2 micrometres.
--> Americans Betzig and Moerner and German scientist Hell have been awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry 2014 for having bypassed this limit. Due to their achievements the optical microscope can now peer into the nanoworld. Two separate principles are rewarded.