Stockholm (dpa) – Germany in Nobel mood: The winner Stefan Hell comes from Göttingen. A second from the USA has German roots. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry honors three scientists who have made a new perspective on life.
For the construction of a super microscope obtain Bright and two Americans the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. So let be observed about how self-assemble proteins in the pathogenesis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The technique of Hell and of the Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner enable it, “depict the innermost secrets of life” the.
The three researchers received the award for the development of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. The highest award for chemists is worth the equivalent of about 880 000 euros (8 million Swedish crowns). Hell was only a month ago with two other researchers, endowed with not counting a total of around 800,000 euros Kavli Prize.
“I’m overwhelmed. This is a great thing,” said the 51-year-old news agency dpa after the announcement of the Nobel Prize winners. At first he thought the call of the Nobel jury was a joke. “But I recognized the voice of the committee chairman. And then I slowly realized that it is not a joke, it is actually the truth.” First, he had called his wife.
The first theories Hells had initially nobody believed in Germany, said Astrid Gräslund from Stockholm Nobel Committee. “That’s why he did not get a job in Germany, and went to Turku, Finland, where they were very happy to have him, and gave him the time and opportunity to develop his ideas -. Initially in theory”, added Gräslund. “Since it has slowly dawned another, that he might be on to something. (…) Now finds his microscopes in the world.”
Currently Hell researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen communicate mainly by how nerve cells. He also works at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg (DKFZ).
“Hell is certainly one of the brilliant minds at us,” said the DKFZ-CEO Otmar Wiestler. Now you can watch how cancer cells communicate with each other and with healthy cells. In addition, the interaction between viruses and cells in the body to let examine a plane had previously been unthinkable in living cells. “Hell is someone who is absolutely beyond borders and beyond its limits.”
The researchers stimulated in his microscope tiny investigation objects using laser beams for fluorescence -. Then illuminate themselves at the same time, it ensures that the environment of the required object is obscured.
The two U.S. scientists developed independently of a similar technique. Moerner investigated so that the inherited disease Huntington’s disease, which causes severe movement disorders and even death. Betzig looks on cell divisions in embryos.
“The work of the winners has made it possible to monitor molecular processes in real time,” said Sven Lidin, the chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry. Now one can also see how self-assemble pathogenic proteins. “This has even shown us the structural dynamic changes of neurons in the brain that occur during learning processes.”
For a long time the resolution of light microscopy was limited in a natural way. Could not map structures, which were less than half a wavelength of the light – that is 200 nanometers, and thus about twice the size of viruses. This limit was blown up by the new technology
Happy and surprised the Americans reacted Betzig, who has German roots and is currently located in Munich, at the announcement of the prize. “I watch the last half hour on my computer, but could look just as good at nothing. I’m paralyzed, “said the 54-year-old.
Celebration will Betzig on bavarian kind.” We go into a beer garden, “he said in Munich Helmholtz Center in Oberschleißheim, where he was invited to give a lecture. First of all, he was however greeted with champagne.
From the high honor he had learned only indirectly. “The committee had a very old number from me, therefore they have phoned my ex-wife,” he said. His son had the good news then accepted.
“50 percent pleasure and 50 percent fear” have the Nobel Prize triggered at him. “I liked my life as it was before,” Betzig said. He had concerns about changes that might now come to him. “Actually, I already had enough to do so.”
The Nobel Prizes are traditionally awarded on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel.