Heinrich Rohrer

Heinrich Rohrer

[rawr-er, rohr-; Ger. roh-ruhr]
Rohrer, Heinrich, 1933-, Swiss physicist, Ph.D. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 1963. At the IBM Research Laboratory in Zürich, Rohrer and fellow researcher Gerd Binnig built the first scanning tunneling microscope, an instrument so sensitive that it can distinguish individual atoms. For their innovation they shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics with Ernst Ruska, who invented (1933) the first electron microscope.
Heinrich Rohrer (born June 6, 1933) is a Swiss physicist and Nobel laureate.

He 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.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1986 with Gerd Binnig for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

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