The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, and William Moerner. The three scientists pioneered methods for super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, which allowed for fluorescence microscopy at the nanometer level (or nano-scopy).
In what has become known as nanoscopy, scientists visualize the pathways of individual molecules inside living cells. They can see how molecules create synapses between nerve cells in the brain; they can track proteins involved in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases as they aggregate; they follow individual proteins in fertilized eggs as these divide into embryos.
The award recognized Stefan Hell for discovery of the method of stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy. Eric Betzig and William Moerner were awarded for laying the foundation for development of single-molecule microscopy.
Below is an interview with Sven Lidin, Charman of the Nobel Committee about this year’s Chemistry Prize.