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Heinrich Rohrer

Heinrich Rohrer
Born June 6, 1933 (1933-06-06) (age 76)
St. Gallen
Nationality Switzerland
Fields Physics
Known for scanning tunneling microscope
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics for 1986

Heinrich Rohrer (born June 6, 1933) is a Swiss physicist who shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics with Gerd Binnig for the design of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

Biography

Rohrer was born in St. Gallen half an hour after his twin sister. He enjoyed a carefree country childhood until the family moved to Zürich in 1949. He enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in 1951, where he studied with Wolfgang Pauli. His doctoral dissertation was on his work measuring the length changes of superconductors at the magnetic-field-induced superconducting transition, a project begun by Jörgen Lykke Olsen. In the course of his research, he found that he had to do most of his research at night after the city was asleep because his measurements were so sensitive to vibration.

His studies were interrupted by his military service in the Swiss mountain infantry. In 1961, he married Rose-Marie Egger. Their honeymoon trip to the United States included a stint doing research on thermal conductivity of type-II superconductors and metals with Bernie Serin at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

In 1963, he joined the IBM Research Laboratory in Rüschlikon under the direction of Ambros Speiser. The first couple of years at IBM, he studied Kondo systems with magnetoresistance in pulsed magnetic fields. He then began studying magnetic phase diagrams, which eventually brought him into the field of critical phenomena.

In 1974, he spent a sabbatical year at the University of California in Santa Barbara, California studying nuclear magnetic resonance with Vince Jaccarino and Alan King.

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Heinrich Rohrer (born June 6, 1933) is a Swiss physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1986 with Gerd Binnig for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

Sourced

  • The coming nanometer age can, therefore, also be called the age of interdisciplinarity.
    • Heinrich Rohrer explaining how progress in miniaturization implies developing techniques in self-assembling molecular structures, in his Nishina Memorial Lecture at the University of Tokyo, on June 25, 1993. Published in Nishina memorial lectures: creators of modern physics. Springer. 2008. p. 506. ISBN 4431770550.  
  • To my knowledge significant progress has never been born of competition. ... In science, being 'better' than others is of little practical value. Examples of how absurd the idea of scientific competition is are abundant.
    • in Science - A Part of Our Future, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews Vol. 19, 193, 1994.
  • I lost all respect for angstroms.
    • in Autobiography, from Nobel Lectures, Physics 1981-1990, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Gösta Ekspång, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1993
  • We live of novelty in science. So when you do something new, you have to overcome certain beliefs that it cannot be done, that it's not interesting and so on.
    • Interview with Heinrich Rohrer at the Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, 9 April, 2008. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Nobelprize.org.
  • We had the freedom to make mistakes. That's something very important. Unfortunately, this freedom for scientists gets more and more lost. ... Otherwise, you do the common things. You don't dare to do something beyond what everybody else thinks.
    • Interview with Heinrich Rohrer at the Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, 9 April, 2008. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Nobelprize.org.
  • Young people are not yet biased in their mind. They are not completely taken by their expert opinions. Expert opinions have a difficulty to go beyond of what they know. When you start in a new field, from the point of view of a scientist, you certainly are 20 years younger, because in the new field you're not yet biased and you look at certain things a little bit more relaxed and a little bit more open.
    • Interview with Heinrich Rohrer at the Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, 9 April, 2008. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Nobelprize.org.

External links

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