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Eagle Scout William E. Moerner Shares Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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Stanford chemistry professor W.E. Moerner was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry. (Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service)

The Boy Scouts of America congratulates Eagle Scout William E. Moerner, 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry laureate for his role in developing microscopy techniques.

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Nobel Prize for chemistry (Nobel Prize)

Moerner shares the $1.1-million Nobel Prize in chemistry with Eric Betzig of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stefan W. Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany. His research is praised for making it possible for researchers “to view the toxic protein accumulations in brain cells of patients with deadly Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases.” Because of his work, researchers “can also study how biomolecules—such as DNA and enzymes—work in cells to carry out the processes that are critical to life.”

Moerner is the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University in California. His areas of research include chemical physics, single-molecule biophysics, super-resolution imaging, and nanoparticle trapping. He received his B.S. degrees in physics and electrical engineering and his A.B. degree in mathematics in 1975, all with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, in 1978 and 1982.

Moerner now joins an elite group of chemists who have received chemistry’s highest honor. According to the Nobel Prize website, “chemistry was the most important science for Alfred Nobel’s own work. The development of his inventions as well as the industrial processes he employed were based upon chemical knowledge.” The Nobel Prize in chemistry, the second prize Nobel mentioned in his will, has been awarded 106 times since 1901.

Watch Moerner’s reactions and that of his colleagues in the videos provided by Stanford University.

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