22 August 2019

Nobel Laureate and Microscope Pioneer to visit Copenhagen


The physicist and Nobel Laureate Stefan W. Hell will visit the University of Copenhagen on Tuesday, 24 September. He will give an entertaining and insightful lecture in the Jerne Auditorium on his ground-breaking microscope technology, followed by an exclusive student-only question session.

Stefan Hell

On Tuesday, 24 September, you can meet Nobel Laureate Stefan W. Hell when he offers a captivating insight into the revolutionary development within high-end light microscopy.

In 2014, along with two other scientists, he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for being the persons behind fluorescence microscopy technique that can display the composition of cells and molecules in higher resolutions than science had previously thought possible.

The technological breakthrough has already had a significant impact on modern health and nanoscience and in the lecture, Stefan Hell will focus on how the technology will shape future research.

Stefan Hell is the Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

Read more about Stefan W. Hell and watch a film here.

Solved a 100-Year-Old Enigma
Stefan W. Hell's work to improve microscopes is revolutionary because it breaks with a central physical principle: that the wavelength of light will put a limit on how high resolution a microscope can reproduce. Back in 1873, the researcher Ernst Abbe calculated that optical microscopes could not go below 200 nanometres because of that limitation.

And so it would take more than 100 years before anyone found that with modern technology, you could break this barrier. Throughout the 1990s, Stefan Hell and his research colleagues showed that you could achieve far higher resolutions with microscopes by using fluorescence microscopy technique.

In brief, the technique exploits fluorescent light rather than reflected light as the wavelength of that light sets limits. Instead of a resolution of 200 nanometres, you can get all the way down to a few nanometres.

Opened the Door to the Nano World
In this way, you might say that Stefan W. Hell and his colleagues have opened the eyes of the entire science world to a nano world that has so far been unavailable. Suddenly, it became possible to observe important real-time biological processes: how neuron signals function in the brain, how DNA formulas are converted to proteins, and how bacteria attack the body.

Today, the technique is used all over the world for nano level research, and it has thus been crucial in furthering science and research into the smallest constituents of life.

’We are very proud to welcome a Nobel Laureate like Stefan W. Hell here at the University of Copenhagen. Microscopy is a central part of much of the basic health and medical research here at the faculty. That's why I'm sure that we will be both intrigued and inspired by listening to his revolutionary, scientific breakthroughs and wager on what the future will bring in this important field of modern research technology’, says Dean Ulla Wewer.

Stefan W. Hell will give a lecture in the Jerne Auditorium on Tuesday, 24 September from 15:00 – 16:00. Everyone is welcome.

In addition, he will hold a question session for students in the Nielsine Auditorium from 16:30 – 18:00.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Blegdamsvej 3B
2200 København N


Senior Executive Consultant Andreas Westergaard

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