Nobel Laureate Hell: I Am Grateful to the University of Turku

Nobel Laureate Hell: I Am Grateful to the University of Turku

Stefan Hell, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year, visited Turku to give a lecture on his research and to meet with students. During his visit, Hell was also awarded a University of Turku medal.

On the picture: Stefan Hell met with students at BioCity, where he worked at the beginning of the 1990s.

Hell got the Nobel-winning idea of developing fluorescence microscopy initially at the Student Village in Turku on a November morning 1993, when he was working at the University of Turku as a Post Doc Researcher.

He was invited to Turku by his friend Pekka Hänninnen, who at the time was working on his doctoral dissertation, and Professor Erkki Soini.

– This was the only place where my novel ideas of developing microscopy were tolerated and where I had the chance to conduct the research that I wanted to do. Without the University of Turku, I would have given up science. I am grateful for the support that I received here, said Hell on his lecture.

The Unusual Career Path Paid off

When Hell met with students from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, he reminisced about the beginning of his career.

Hell said that his decision of coming to Finland was thought peculiar in his home country, as German researchers typically left to work in the United States or United Kingdom at that time.

He also received a grant to Oxford University, but wanted to continue his work at Turku.

– Here, I had the best chance to do what I wanted, so why go to Oxford? If you work with a passion, you can conduct revolutionary research anywhere, said Hell.

He had one piece of advice for the students.

– Follow your passion and do what you like the most, because then you are able to work harder and it is easier to be creative. Hard work will pay off eventually, promised Hell.

At the end of his visit, Hell received the University of Turku medal from Rector Kalervo Väänänen

At the end of his visit, Stefan Hell received the Phoenix Universitatis Turkuensis medal. The medal is awarded to a person who has significantly distinguished him or herself in realising the intellectual or material goals of the University of Turku.

From the left, Pekka Hänninen, Erkki Soini, Kalervo Väänänen, Stefan Hell and Pentti Huovinen.

Photos: Hanna Oksanen
Text: Liisa Reunanen
Translation: Mari Ratia

ScanBalt members: