Gerd Binnig was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1947. He studied at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his doctorate degree in 1978. That year, he joined a physics research group at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory, where he met Heinrich Rohrer, who shares in his most important work: the design of the scanning tunneling microscope. Dr. Binnig was assigned to IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., from 1985 to 1986, and was a visiting professor at nearby Stanford University from 1987 to 1988.
The scanning tunneling microscope is used to obtain atomic-scale images of metal surfaces. It provides a three-dimensional profile of the surface which is very useful for characterizing surface roughness, observing surface defects, and determining the size and conformation of molecules and aggregates on the surface.
Dr. Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Information as of 1987