Nobel Prize-winning physicist Heinrich Rohrer has died at 79 years old, according to the New York Times. His family confirms he died overnight Thursday (May 16), from natural causes, in Switzerland.
In 1986, Rohrer won the Nobel Prize for physics, with Gerd Binnig and Ernst Ruska, for inventing a microscope that made seeing individual atoms possible. The microscope also led to advancements in nanotechnology, which is the manipulation of matter at the molecular scale.
After doing postdoctoral research at Rutgers University, Rohrer, a native of Switzerland, then began working for I.B.M. in 1963. He looked back on his time there fondly, saying what they gave him was the “freedom to make mistakes,” something he thought was slowly going away for scientists.
One of the more recent uses of Rohrer’s microscope happened in April, when I.B.M. released the word’s smallest stop-motion animation movie. The short was called “A Boy and His Atom.”
You can watch the short below: