Stefan Hell

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Stefan W. Hell (2010)

Stefan Walter Hell (born December 23, 1962 in Arad , People's Republic of Romania ) is a Romanian-German physicist and university professor . He is director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen . In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Eric Betzig and William Moerner .

Live and act

Stefan Hell comes from a Banat Swabian family from the village of Sântana ( Sanktanna in German  ), twenty kilometers from Arad , where he attended German school. From 1977 to 1978 he was a student at the Nikolaus-Lenau-Lyceum in Timișoara , before his family moved with him to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1978 and he passed the Abitur at the Carl-Bosch-Gymnasium in Ludwigshafen am Rhein .

Hell studied physics at the University of Heidelberg from 1981 . From 1984 to 1990 he was a fellow of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation . After completing his diploma in 1987, he began working with Siegfried Hunklinger on his dissertation, Imaging Transparent Microstructures in the Confocal Microscope , which he completed in 1990 with a doctorate . He then worked briefly as a freelance inventor . During this time he worked on ways to construct light microscopes that allow a higher resolution than those previously developed, and laid the foundation for 4Pi microscopy .

From 1991 to 1993 Hell worked in the main Heidelberg laboratory of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory . He succeeded in demonstrating the principle of 4Pi microscopy in practice and in significantly improving the depth resolution.

Hell was then employed from 1993 as a group leader at the University of Turku in Finland , in the Department of Medical Physics, where he developed the principle of STED microscopy (STED: Stimulated Emission Depletion). At the same time he spent a total of six months at Oxford University from 1993 to 1994 as a visiting scholar in the field of engineering. His habilitation in physics took place in Heidelberg in 1996. In the following year he became head of a junior research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, which researched in the field of optical microscopy. Around the year 2000 the group succeeded in experimentally confirming Hell and Wichmann's theories.

On October 15, 2002, Hell was appointed director at the institute. In addition to his work in Göttingen, he was appointed as an adjunct professor at the University of Heidelberg in 2003 and was also head of the “High-Resolution Optical Microscopy” department at the German Cancer Research Center . In 2004 he was also appointed honorary professor for experimental physics at the University of Göttingen .

With the invention and development of STED microscopy and related microscopy methods, Hell succeeded in showing that the resolution in the fluorescence light microscope, which is conventionally limited to around half a light wavelength (~ 200 nanometers), can be overcome. Hell was able to prove experimentally for the first time that the resolving power of the fluorescence microscope can be decoupled from the diffraction of light and increased to a fraction of the light wavelength (nanometer range). Since the work of Ernst Abbe (1873) on the diffraction limitation of the resolving power of microscopes, this was considered impracticable. For this achievement and its importance for other areas of science, such as the life sciences and basic medical research, he received the 10th German Future Prize on November 23, 2006 . He has been a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2013 .

In 2014 Stefan Hell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy together with Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner .

Hell is a member of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence; his working group conducts research in the BioQuant Center at Heidelberg University. In 2017 Hell was appointed honorary professor with a corporate law position at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy at Heidelberg University.

Awards (selection)

Broadcast reports


  • From microscopy to nanoscopy: Stefan W. Hell. In: Yearbook of the Max Planck Society 2003, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-598-24930-6 , pages 79-80 (article about Hell as a new scientific member of the Max Planck Society).
  • Autobiography Stefan Hell. In: Yearbook of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences 2015, Heidelberg 2016, ISBN 978-3-8253-6633-9 , pp. 20–32 (Hells autobiographical lecture).


Hell is married and has four children.

Web links

Commons : Stefan Hell  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Christopher Schrader: The field has developed rapidly., October 8, 2014, accessed October 8, 2014.
  2. , ADZ , Werner Kremm : Another good day for the Banat. Stefan W. Hell, who comes from Sanktanna, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry .
  3. , ADZ , Banater Schwabe receives Nobel Prize for Chemistry
  4. EXCLUSIVE Stefan W. Hell, al doilea elev de la Liceul "Nikolaus Lenau" din Timişoara care a câştigat un Nobel ( Romanian ) Adevărul . October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  5. a b c CV .
  6. a b Homepage on the website of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.
  7. Press release ( Memento of February 4, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Future Prize, June 2006.
  8. Thomas. A. Klar, Stefan W. Hell: Subdiffraction resolution in far-field fluorescence microscopy . In: Optics Letters . tape 24 , no. 14 , 1999, p. 954-956 , doi : 10.1364 / OL.24.000954 .
  9. Thomas A. Klar, Stefan Jakobs, Marcus Dyba, Alexander Egner, Stefan W. Hell: Fluorescence microscopy with diffraction resolution barrier broken by stimulated emission . In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . tape 97 , no. 15 , 2000, pp. 8206-8210 , doi : 10.1073 / pnas.97.15.8206 , PMID 10899992 (free full text).
  10. Career (PDF; 50 kB) of Stefan Hell.
  11. Article on the Future Prize at
  12. Member entry by Prof. Dr. Stefan Hell (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , accessed on June 6, 2016 ..
  13. Triumph for a stubborn head .
  14. Press release .
  15. Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung of June 16, 2017, page 21 (Universitas - Uni-Info - Honors - Appointments)
  16. a b Awards from Stefan Hell
  17. Carmen Rotte: Nomination for Europe's most important innovation award - Stefan Hell convinces with overcoming traditional paradigms in light microscopy. Press release. In: Science Information Service , April 11, 2008, accessed December 10, 2017 .
  18. Stefan Hell honored as pioneer of the method of the year , Science Information Service , December 19, 2008.
  19. ^ Members of the HAdW since it was founded in 1909. Stefan W. Hell. Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, accessed July 2, 2016 .
  20. Vits Prize for Prof. Dr. Stefan W. Hell , press release from the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster, November 8, 2010.
  21. ↑ The Hansen Family Prize goes to Prof. Dr. Stefan W. Hell , Press Release No. 60, November 2, 2010.
  22. Stefan Hell - Körber Prize Winner 2011 ( Memento from October 15, 2014 in the Internet Archive ).
  23. From microscopy to nanoscopy: Meyenburg Prize 2011 goes to Stefan Hell at the DKFZ ; Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  24. 2010/11 Stefan W. Hell. In: University of Gothenburg, accessed December 10, 2017 .
  25. Science Prize 2012 of the Fritz Behrens Foundation goes to Stefan Hell at the Science Information Service (idw-online); Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  26. Science Prize 2012 for Stefan Hell , press release from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.
  27. Stefan Hell receives the Kavli Prize for Nanosciences. Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (press release), May 29, 2014, accessed on June 6, 2014 .
  28. ^ The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 .
  29. Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Stefan W. Hell receives this year's Semmelweis Budapest Award. Retrieved November 25, 2018 .
  30. Andrea Korte: AAAS Honors Accomplished Scientists as 2018 Elected Fellows. American Association for the Advancement of Science, November 27, 2018, accessed November 28, 2018 .
  31. ^ A b Nomina di Membro Ordinario della Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , July 22, 2019, accessed July 22, 2019 (Italian).
  32. ^ Nobel laureate Stefan Hell, honorary doctor of the Timisoara Western University. Retrieved August 5, 2019 .