The Info List - Gerd Binnig

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GERD BINNIG (born 20 July 1947 ) is a German physicist, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics
in 1986 for the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope .

He was born in Frankfurt am Main and played in the ruins of the city during his childhood. His family lived partly in Frankfurt
and partly in Offenbach am Main , and he attended school in both cities. At the age of 10, he decided to become a physicist, but he soon wondered whether he had made the right choice. He concentrated more on music, playing in a band. He also started playing the violin at 15 and played in his school orchestra.

Binnig studied physics at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, gaining a bachelor's degree in 1973 and remaining there do a PhD with in Werner Martienssen's group, supervised by Eckhardt Hoenig.

In 1969, he married Lore Wagler, a psychologist, and they have a daughter born in Switzerland
and a son born in California
. His hobbies are reading, swimming and golf.

In 1978, he accepted an offer from IBM
to join their Zürich research group, where he worked with Heinrich Rohrer , Christoph Gerber and Edmund Weibel . There they developed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. The Nobel committee described the effect that the invention of the STM had on science, saying that "entirely new fields are opening up for the study of the structure of matter." The physical principles on which the STM was based were already known before the IBM
team developed the STM, but Binnig and his colleagues were the first to solve the significant experimental challenges involved in putting it into effect.

Zürich team were soon recognized with a number of prizes: the German Physics
Prize, the Otto Klung Prize, the Hewlett Packard Prize and the King Faisal Prize. In 1986, Binnig and Rohrer shared half of the Nobel Prize in Physics
, the other half of the Prize was awarded to Ernst Ruska .

From 1985-1988, he worked in California. He was at IBM
in Almaden Valley , and was visiting professor at Stanford University .

In 1985, Binnig invented the atomic force microscope (AFM) and Binnig, Christoph Gerber and Calvin Quate went on to develop a working version of this new microscope for insulating surfaces.

In 1987 Binnig was appointed IBM
Fellow . In the same year, he started the IBM
group Munich, working on creativity and atomic force microscopy

In 1994 Professor Gerd Binnig