Gerd Binnig (born 20 July 1947
) is a
German physicist, who won the
Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for the invention of the
scanning tunneling microscope.
He was born in
Frankfurt am Main and played in the ruins of the city during his childhood. His family lived partly in
Frankfurt and partly in
Offenbach am Main, and he attended school in both cities. At the age of 10, he decided to become a physicist, but he soon wondered whether he had made the right choice. He concentrated more on music, playing in a band. He also started playing the violin at 15 and played in his school orchestra.
Binnig studied physics at the
J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, gaining a bachelor's degree in 1973 and remaining there do a PhD with in Werner Martienssen's group, supervised by Eckhardt Hoenig.
In 1969, he married Lore Wagler, a psychologist, and they have a daughter born in
Switzerland and a son born in
 His hobbies are reading, swimming and golf.
In 1978, he accepted an offer from
IBM to join their
Zürich research group, where he worked with
Christoph Gerber and
Edmund Weibel. There they developed the
scanning tunneling microscope (STM), an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level.
 The Nobel committee described the effect that the invention of the STM had on science, saying that "entirely new fields are opening up for the study of the structure of matter."
 The physical principles on which the STM was based were already known before the IBM team developed the STM, but Binnig and his colleagues were the first to solve the significant experimental challenges involved in putting it into effect.
The IBM Zürich team were soon recognized with a number of prizes: the German Physics Prize, the Otto Klung Prize, the Hewlett Packard Prize and the King Faisal Prize.
 In 1986, Binnig and Rohrer shared half of the
Nobel Prize in Physics, the other half of the Prize was awarded to
From 1985-1988, he worked in California. He was at IBM in
Almaden Valley, and was visiting professor at
In 1985, Binnig invented the
atomic force microscope (AFM)
 and Binnig,
Christoph Gerber and
Calvin Quate went on to develop a working version of this new microscope for insulating surfaces.
In 1987 Binnig was appointed
IBM Fellow. In the same year, he started the IBM Physics group Munich, working on creativity
 and atomic force microscopy
In 1994 Professor Gerd Binnig founded
Definiens which turned in the year 2000 into a commercial enterprise. The company developed
Cognition Network Technology to analyze images just like the human eye and brain are capable of doing.
in 2016, Binnig won the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.
Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center, an IBM-owned research facility in
Rüschlikon, Zurich is named after Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer.