Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 / Wilhelm Exner Medal 2016
What do you see as the significance / importance of the Exner Medal?
This medal stands for the fact that science is not detached from society. Quite the contrary. It is precisely science and the technological progress associated with it that shapes society like hardly anything else. The Exner Medal emphatically points this out: Science and society, science and business, they play together. Even scientific breakthroughs that at first seem to be completely detached from the world outside are, sooner or later, not. They change the world. Demonstrating the role of science
What do you see as the opportunity of the Exner Medal?
Through the Exner Lectures, the foundation brings some outstanding scientific contributions into the spotlight year after year, thus increasing their visibility, and here especially in the business world. This visibility can bring opportunities, because for me, as for other recipients of the award
there are immediate benefits from the research of recent years. Abberior Instruments GmbH, a company I co-founded, is now the technology leader for optical microscopes with the very highest resolution, including systems that are very easy to use and portable. This is how biomedical research can be advanced, and I’m pleased about that.
What do you particularly like about the award?
Looking back at the nearly century-long history of the medal and the long list of honorees inspires awe. Many names I know from my school books, such as Rutherford, Marconi and more. I was especially pleased to learn that Manfred Eigen, someone I knew personally and held in high esteem, had received the medal a few years earlier. I was able to experience Manfred Eigen, the visionary founder of my Max Planck Institute in Göttingen and also a Nobel laureate in chemistry, as a man of unique intellectual acuity. Like many of the winners of the Exner Medal, he was a role model for me.