Session: Health technologies
Prof. Dr. Gerd Binnig
Definiens AG, CTO and Founder, GERMANY
Dr. Binnig studied at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he received his doctorate degree in 1978. He then immediately joined IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory and stayed with IBM till 2002. During this time Dr. Binnig invented and developed the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, STM, together with his colleague Dr. Heinrich Rohrer. He went on to invent the Atomic Force Microscope, AFM, which he developed together with Calvin Quate and Christoph Gerber during a sabbatical at IBM Almaden Research Center (1985/86) and a guest professorship at Stanford University (1985-88). Additionally, he opened and headed a small IBM research group from 1987 to 1995 within the University of Munich, from which he received an honorary professorship.
Through both techniques, STM and AFM, atoms on the surface of matter are imaged and manipulated so that features of single atoms, such as electronic states (STM) and interaction forces (AFM), can be measured. The potential of investigating and manipulating matter on the atomic scale started the new discipline of nanotechnology. In addition to receiving numerous awards and honors, Dr. Binnig was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics together with his colleague Dr. Heinrich Rohrer for the invention of the STM.
In 1995, Dr. Binnig together with the journalist Dieter Herold founded a small research group, which was the precursor of Definiens. In 2000 he founded the company Definiens by bringing in investors. With his team at Definiens he developed the Cognition Network Technology, CNT, to automatically understand complex data. This technique was initially applied to image analysis which uniquely enabled Definiens software to analyze large numbers of images automatically, just like the human eye and brain are capable of doing. Later, CNT was extended to the automated analysis of data tables derived from the analysis and rich quantification of tissue images, enabling the novel field of Tissue Phenomics®.