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Prof. Dr.

Stefan Hell

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014

Year of election: 2013
Section: Physics
City: Göttingen
Country: Germany
CV Stefan Hell - deutsch (pdf)
CV Stefan Hell - english (pdf)


Main research interests: STED microscopy and related concepts

Stefan Hell is a physicist. He pioneered breaking the diffraction barrier in a light microscope using conventional lenses. In 2014, he was honoured by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” together with Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner.

Pioneered breaking the diffraction barrier in a light microscope using conventional lenses

Invention and development of STED microscopy and related concepts

Discovered and demonstrated on-off switching of (fluorescence) signal as key mechanism for overcoming the diffraction resolution barrier.


  • Director, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry; Member of Chem-Phys-Tech & Biomedical Section of Max Planck Society; Head, Optical Nanoscopy Division; German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg
  • 2004 Hon. Prof., Faculty of Physics, University of Göttingen
  • 2003 Adj. Prof., Faculty of Physics, University of Heidelberg
  • 1997-2002 Group leader, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry Göttingen, Germany
  • 1996 Habilitation in Physics, Univ. Heidelberg
  • 1994 Visiting Scientist, Dept. Engineering Science, Oxford University, UK
  • 1993-1996 Principal Scientist, Laser Microscopy Group; University of Turku, Finland
  • 1991-1993 Postdoctoral Researcher, EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
  • 1990 Doctorate in Physics, University of Heidelberg
  • 1981-1987 Physics studies, University of Heidelberg


  • since 2020 Member of the Senate of the Max Planck Society
  • since 2009 Spokesperson, DFG Center Molecular Physiology of the Brain Göttingen
  • since 2007 Board of trustees, X-LAB, Göttingen
  • 2007-2010 Board of trustees, Niedersachsen Foundation for Innovation
  • since 2005 Secretary of the International Society on Optics Within Life Sciences (OWLS)
  • since 2003 Associate Member, European Neuroscience Institute (ENI), Göttingen
  • since 2003 Board of directors, Laser Laboratorium Göttingen e.V.
  • since 2002 Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society, Biomed. and Chem.-Phys.-Techn. Section

Honours and Memberships

  • 2015 Verdienstorden des Landes Baden-Württemberg
  • 2015 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
  • 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • 2014 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience
  • 2014 Carus-Preis, City of Schweinfurt
  • 2013 Carus Medal of Leopoldina, German National Academy
  • 2013 Doctor honoris causa, Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania
  • 2012 Romanian Academy, member of honor
  • 2012 Science Prize of the Fritz Behrens Foundation
  • 2011 Doctor honoris causa, Vasile Goldis University, Arad, Romania
  • 2011 Hansen Family Award
  • 2011 Körber European Science Prize (Physical Sciences)
  • 2011 Gothenburg Lise Meitner Prize 2010/2011
  • 2011 Meyenburg Prize for Cancer Research
  • 2010 Ernst-Hellmut-Vits-Prize
  • 2009 Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, external member
  • 2009 Doctor honoris causa, University of Turku, Finland
  • 2009 Otto Hahn Prize in Physics
  • 2008 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Council (DFG)
  • 2008 Lower Saxony State Award (Niedersächsischer Staatspreis)
  • 2007 Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities, regular member
  • 2007 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics
  • 2007 Cozzarelli Prize awarded by the Proc. Natl. Acad. Sc. USA
  • 2006 Innovation Award of the German President (Zukunftspreis des Bundespräsidenten)
  • 2004 Gottlieb Daimler- and Karl Benz Prize, Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 Karl-Heinz Beckurts-Prize
  • 2002 Carl-Zeiss Research Award of Ernst-Abbe-Fonds
  • 2002 Innovation Award of Leibinger-Foundation
  • 2001 Helmholtz-Prize for metrology (co-recipient)
  • 2000 ICO Prize, International Commission for Optics (ICO)




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