American Chemical Society member among winners of top science prize

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2014 — For his pioneering work in optics, Stefan W. Hell, an American Chemical Society (ACS) member for eight years, was named one of three winners of the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience. The prizes, which consist of a cash award of $1 million in each of three fields, were announced today by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Hell, who is with the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany, shared the prize with two other prominent scientists in the field: Thomas W. Ebbesen, Université Louis Pasteur, Université de Strasbourg, France; and Sir John B. Pendry, Imperial College London, U.K.

They won “for transformative contributions to the field of nano-optics that have broken long-held beliefs about the limitations of the resolution limits of optical microscopy and imaging,” according to the Kavli Foundation, which administers the award. Previously, scientists thought that imaging objects was limited by the finite wavelength of light, about 200 nanometers, or 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair. But Hell, Ebbesen and Pendry developed methods to see objects that are even smaller, using ordinary light. Their work opens exciting new paths for discovery in nanoscience.

Hell has published in many ACS journals, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nano Letters, Biochemistry, Langmuir, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Macromolecules and ACS Nano.

“ACS is exceptionally proud of Dr. Hell’s accomplishments,” said Madeleine Jacobs, executive director and chief executive officer of ACS. “But we are also extremely proud of all nine Kavli Prize winners — in the fields of nanoscience, astrophysics and neuroscience — fields that rely on ‘chemistry, the central science’ for their advancement and understanding. ACS has been fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with the Kavli Foundation, which supports lectures at our national meetings. It is fitting that these announcements were made on the day that Fred Kavli, who died in November 2013, is being honored with a scientific symposium in New York. He would have been proud of the Kavli Prize winners.”

Winners of the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience were also named. All the 2014 laureates will be honored at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on September 9.

Named after inventor, businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli (1927 – 2013), The Kavli Prize is a partnership of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Its goal is to recognize exceptional scientific research, promote public understanding of science and foster international cooperation among scientists.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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