Romanian-born Stefan Hell, one of the 2014 Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry


The international laureate is expected to come in Romania in 2015 to celebrate <<International Year of Light>> with his academics colleagues


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014 to Eric Betzig from Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA, USA, Stefan W. Hell from Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany and William E. Moerner from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA for “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”, informs.

Stefan W. Hell is a German citizen, but he has Romanian roots. In December 23, 1962 the child Stefan Hell was born in Arad and in his early 30’s he become an incontestable celebrity in science world. He spent his childhood in Santana village where he followed middle school between 1969 and 1977. In 1977 he went to high-school “Nikolaus Lenau” in Timisoara and he attended the high school until March 1978. He proved high interest for exact sciences since middle school, being encouraged by his parents. In April 1978 he moved with his parents in Ludwigshafen, Germany, where he followed the high-school courses until 1981, when he graduated.

For a long time optical microscopy was held back by a presumed limitation: that it would never obtain a better resolution than half the wavelength of light. Helped by fluorescent molecules the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2014 ingeniously circumvented this limitation. Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nanodimension. Today, nanoscopy is used world-wide and new knowledge of greatest benefit to mankind is produced on a daily basis.

Close ties to Romanian academic life 

Working independently of each other, the researchers Eric Betzig, William Moerner and Stefan Hell  shattered previous limits on the resolution of optical microscopes by using glowing molecules to peer inside the components of life. “Due to their achievements, the optical microscope can now peer into the nanoworld,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said, giving the 8 million-kronor (USD 1.1 million) award jointly to the three for “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”
“I was totally surprised, I couldn’t believe it,” said Hell.”Fortunately, I remembered the voice of Nordmark and I realized it was real,” he added, referring to Staffan Nordmark, the academy’s permanent secretary.
Romania can not adjudicate the merits on his becoming further, but Hell remained tied to domestic academic community. Therefore, the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is expected to come next year in Romania, the President of the Romanian Academy, Acad. Ionel-Valentin Vlad announced, quoted by
“Next year is a special one, 2015 being declared by the United Nations and UNESCO <<International Year of Light>>. (…) Romania is among the international partners involved in organizing conferences to celebrate this initiative. Also, next year it happened to be the next edition of our conference ‘Micro-to nano-Photonics’, Hell taking part at the 2012 edition”, Acad. Ionel-Valentin Vlad said. Hell is an honorary member of the Romanian Academy and two universities have awarded him Doctor Honoris Causa title.

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