Binnig, Gerd [key], 1947–, German physicist, Ph.D. Univ. of Frankfurt, 1978. At the IBM Research Laboratory in Zürich, Binnig and fellow researcher Heinrich Rohrer built the first scanning tunneling microscope, an instrument so sensitive that it can distinguish individual atoms. For their innovation they shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics with Ernst Ruska, who invented (1933) the first electron microscope. In 1986 Binnig developed the atomic force microscope, which can image individual atoms in materials that do not conduct electricity.
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