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Tributes are paid to Nobel winner Heinrich Rohrer

Tributes are paid to Nobel winner Heinrich Rohrer

TRIBUTES have been paid to Nobel winning physicist Heinrich Rohrer who has passed away aged 79.

The 1986 Nobel Prize for Physics was divided with one half going to Dr. Rohrer and Gerd Binnig for their development of the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM). The other half of the prize was awarded to Ernst Ruska for his work in electron optics.

The STM breakthrough resulted in individual atoms being seen on the surface of materials for the first time. But the technology not only increased what could been seen, it also enabled the scientists to measure and manipulate atomic objects. This opened up the new field of nanotechnology. Indeed, Dr. Rohrer was to become known as the father of nanotechnology.

The Swiss-born Rohrer had joined IBM Research in Zurich in the early 1960s and was to work there for 34 years. His work with Gerd Binnig began in the late 1970s when he hired the young scientist. Within two years the pair had submitted their first patent disclosure on STM.

The importance of their invention and the opening-up of the new field of nanotechnology was recognised by the fact that they received their Nobel honour just five years after they had built their first STM.

Among those to pay tribute to Dr. Rohrer was John Kelly, IBM’s senior vice president and director of research. Dr. Kelly said: “The invention of the scanning tunneling microscope was a seminal moment in the history of science and information technology. This invention gave scientists the ability to image, measure and manipulate atoms for the first time, and opened new avenues for information technology that we are still pursuing today,”

Dr. Rohrer is survived by his wife Rose-Marie and his two daughters.

To view an interview with Dr. Rohrer, click here.

To see footage of Dr. Rohrer delivering a speech in which he talks of his passion for knowledge, click here.

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