The University of Michigan's Department of Physics hosts the annual Ta-You Wu Lecture, which is one of the most prestigious lecture events in our Department. The Lectureship was endowed in 1991 through generous gifts from the University of Michigan Alumni Association in Taiwan. It is named in honor of Michigan Physics alumnus and honorary Doctor of Science, Ta-You Wu, one of the central figures of the 20th century in the Chinese and Taiwanese physics communities.
2015 Ta-You Wu Distinguished Lecturer
Dr. Eric Betzig
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 and a
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Please join us for a coffee and cookie reception prior to the lecture, beginning at 3:30 PM.
The reception will be held in the atrium outside of the Rackham Auditorium.
Imaging Life at High Spatiotemporal Resolution
As our understanding of biological systems has increased, so has the complexity of our questions and the need for more advanced optical tools to answer them. In my group, we develop such tools: super resolution microscopy for imaging cells down to near-molecular resolution; plane illumination microscopy for imaging 3D intracellular dynamics at high speed; and adaptive optics to recover optimal images from within optically heterogeneous specimens. The application of these tools to a diverse set of biological systems provides a visceral reminder of the beauty and complexity of life.
Biographical sketch for Dr. Eric Betzig
Eric Betzig obtained a B.S. in Physics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Cornell. In 1988, he became a PI at AT&T Bell Labs where he extended his thesis work on near-field optical microscopy, the first method to break the diffraction barrier. By 1993, he held a world record for data storage density, and recorded the first super-resolution fluorescence images of cells as well as the first single molecule images at ambient temperature. Frustrated with technical limitations and declining standards as more jumped into the field, he quit science and by 1996 was working for his father's machine tool company. Commercial failure of the technologies he developed there left him unemployed in 2003 and looking for new directions. This search eventually culminated in his co-invention of the super-resolution technique PALM with his best friend, Bell Labs colleague Harald Hess. For this work, he is co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Since 2005, he has been a Group Leader at the Janelia Research Campus, developing new optical imaging technologies for biology.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014 was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy".
Previous Lectures in This Series
- 2014 Wendy Freedman: The Universe: Continuing Surprises
- 2013 Dennis Overbye: Confessions of a Dinosaur in the Age of New Media
- 2012 Nobel laureate David Wineland: Superposition, Entanglement, and Raising Schrödinger's Cat
- 2011 Former Director of the Laboratoire d’ Optique Appliquée at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Technique Avancée & Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique (France)
- 2010 Nobel laureate Samuel C. C. Ting: An Experiment to Explore the Mysteries of Space: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station Gérard Mourou: Laser-Based High Energy Physics
- 2009 Helen Quinn: Wandering Planets, Falling Apples, Curving Spaces, Whirling Stars: How Unraveling the Mysteries of Gravity Has Taught Us About the Universe.
- 2008 Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek: The Universe is a Strange Place
- 2007 100th Birthday Celebration of the late Ta-You Wu: Distinguished Lecturer, Frank H. Shu, The Formation of Stars and Planetary Systems
- 2006 Nobel laureate Eric A. Cornell: Is Warm Glass More Sticky Than Cold Glass? Temperature and Casimir Force
- 2005 Nobel laureate Anthony J. Leggett: Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?
- 2004 Nobel laureate David J. Gross: Asymptotic Freedom and the Emergence of QCD (Or How I Won the Nobel Prize)
- 2003 Sir Martin Rees: Where is Cosmology Going?
- 2002 David Wilkinson (1935-2002): The Cosmic Microwave Backround Radiation
- 2001 Freeman Dyson: Is Life Analog or Digital?
- 2000 Nobel laureate Horst L. Stormer: Fractional Electronic Charges and other Tales from Flatland
- 1999 Nobel laureate Steven Chu: Seeing and Holding onto Atoms and Biological Molecules
- 1998 Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924-2010): Fractals and Scale-Invariant Roughness in
- 1997 Paul C. W. Chu: The Path of Zero Resistance
- 1996 Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932-2007): Principles of Adhesion
- 1995 Nobel laureate T. D. Lee: Symmetry and Asymmetry
- 1994 Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor: Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity
- 1993 Abraham Pais (1918-2000): George Uhlenbeck Remembered
- 1992 Nobel laureate C. N. Yang: Considerations on Carbon 60