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Heinrich Rohrer

Heinrich RohrerBorn: 6-Jun-1933
Birthplace: Buchs, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Died: 16-May-2013
Location of death: Wollerau, Switzerland
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Co-Inventor, scanning tunneling microscope

Military service: Swiss Army (mountain infantry)

Swiss physicist Heinrich Rohrer began working on the scanning tunneling microscope in 1978, with Gerd Binnig, a colleague at IBM's experimental facility in Switzerland. Their invention, introduced in 1981, uses the quantum tunnel effect to allow analysis of the molecular structure at the atomic level. Rohrer later recounted that when he told co-workers at IBM what he and Binnig were working on, "They all said, 'You are completely crazy — but if it works, you'll get the Nobel Prize'." Five years later they shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics with Ernst Ruska, inventor of the electron microscope.

In 1986 Rohrer and Binnig adapted their work to create the atomic force microscope, which uses a stylus to mechanically probe the surface of materials, allowing unprecedented clarity in the study of the structure of matter. Rohrer, who retired in 1997 and died in 2013, also studied Kondo systems, magnetic phase diagrams, multicritical phenomena, nanomechanics, nuclear magnetic resonance, phase transitions, the random-field problem, and superconductivity.

Father: Hans Heinrich Roher (wholesaler)
Mother: Katharina Ganpenbein Rohrer
Sister: (twin)
Wife: Rose-Marie Egger (m. 1961)
Daughter: Doris
Daughter: Ellen

    University: BS Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1955)
    University: PhD Experimental Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1960)
    Scholar: Rutgers University (two years, post-doctorate)
    Scholar: University of California at Santa Barbara (1974-75)

    EPS Europhysics Prize 1984 (with Gerd Binnig)
    King Faisal Prize 1984 (with Gerd Binnig)
    IBM Fellow 1986
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1986 (with Gerd Binnig and Ernst Ruska)
    Elliott Cresson Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute 1987 (with Gerd Binnig)
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 1994
    Spanish National Research Council (1997-2013)
    IBM IBM Research Laboratory, Rüschlikon, Switzerland (1963-97)

Author of books:
Das Raster-Tunnelmikroskop (The Scanning Tunneling Microscope) (1987, with Gerd Binnig)


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