Gerd Binnig receives one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Heinrich Rohrer "for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope". Binnig is only 39 years old. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences states that although development of the STM is in its infancy, it is already clear that "entirely new fields are opening up for the study of the structure of matter."
Gerd Binnig joins the Supervisory Board of the Daimler Benz Holding. He is also involved in some political activities.
Gerd Binnig receives his bachelor's degree at J.W. Goethe University.
Gerd Binnig delivers a plenary lecture at the annual Electrochemical Society meeting in Paris. He reports his work on IBM's new Millipede project: a program concentrating on increasing the density of data-storage capacity. Millipede uses thousands of nanoscale needles to make indentations that represent individual pieces of information into thin plastic films.
Gerd Binnig is Visiting Professor at Stanford University.
Binnig founds Definiens which turns in the year 2000 into a commercial enterprise. Companies around the world use Definiens' technology to maximize the value of images and thereby enabling better decisions. Definiens focuses on applications for Life Sciences and Earth Sciences. In Life Sciences, Definiens' technology accelerates the drug discovery, development, and diagnostics processes. In Earth Sciences, Definiens' technology enables satellite and aerial image classification and analysis.
Binnig and Rohrer develop the scanning tunneling microscope, or STM, a microscope able to form an image of individual atoms on a metal or semiconductor surface. STM can “see” atomic-scale objects up to 1/25th the diameter of a typical atom. By creating 3D profiles of a surface, it helps researchers, e.g., determining size and form of molecules, observing abnormalities on a surface and discovering how chemicals interact with a material. The STM is used in laboratories throughout the world.
Gerd Binnig receives his Ph.D. at J.W. Goethe University. He studies in Werner Martienssen's group, supervised by Eckhardt Hoenig.
Binnig is appointed IBM Fellow in 1987, when he becomes head of the IBM physics group at the University of Munich.
Gerd Binnig relocates to IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. Binning tries to use the atomic force between atoms rather than tunneling current, to move the scanning tip over a solid's surface. He works with Christoph Gerber of IBM Zurich and Calvin Quate of Stanford, and soon they produce a prototype of a new type of scanner, the atomic force microscope (AFM). The AFM allows to image materials not electrically conductive.
Gerd Binnig accepts the offer from IBM to join their Zürich research group, where he works with Heinrich Rohrer, Christoph Gerber and Edmund Weibel. Binnig becomes group leader at IBM's Zurich lab in 1984.
Gerd Binnig is born in Frankfurt am Main first of two sons. His mother, Ruth Bracke Binnig, is a drafter, and his father, Karl Franz Binnig, is a machine engineer. Binnig and his friends play among the ruins of buildings destroyed by World War II. He decides on a career in physics by age ten. He goes to primary and secondary public schools in Frankfurt. He also starts to play violin at the age of 15 and enjoys being a member of the school orchestra. He starts also playing in various beat-bands.