Stefan Hell thought it was a dumb joke when Stefan Normark from the Swedish Academy for Sciences and chairman of the Nobel Prize committee called and told him the news. “Thank God I recognized his voice!” Mr. Hell said.
At a ceremony later this year, the Romanian-German physicist will recieve the Nobel Prize in chemistry, together with the Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner, for their work in developing high-resolution fluorescent microscopy.
When Mr. Hell stepped in front of the cameras on Wednesday afternoon at the Göttingen Max Planck Institute, he could hardly conceal his joy. “We already killed a few bottles of champagne,” he said as if he needed to explain.
Mr. Hell and his two U.S. colleagues have taken microscopy to a whole new level, making microscopic developments possible through nano resolutions. The scientists are pioneers in the new field of nanoscopy, which allows single molecules to be tracked in living cells.