William E. Moerner

Nobel prize winning American chemical physicist

William Esco Moerner (born June 24, 1953) is an American physical chemist and chemical physicist.

William E. Moerner
WE Moerner.jpg
William Esco Moerner

(1953-06-24) June 24, 1953 (age 67)
Alma mater
AwardsWolf Prize in Chemistry (2008)
Irving Langmuir Award (2009)
Peter Debye Award
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2014)
Scientific career
FieldsChemistry, applied physics, biophysics
Doctoral advisorAlbert J. Sievers
Other academic advisorsJames Gegan Miller

He is known for his first optical detection and spectroscopy of a single molecule in condensed phases.[1][2] Optical study of single molecules has subsequently become a widely used single-molecule experiment in chemistry, physics and biology.[3]

In 2014, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.[4][5]


  1. Reich,Ziv and Kapon,Ruti. 2010. "Foreword by the Guest Editors." (Special Issue dedicated to Prof. Moerner's Achievements.) Israel Journal of Chemistry 49 (3-4), April 2010. DOI: 10.1002/ijch.201090002
  2. W. E. Moerner and L. Kador, "Optical Detection and Spectroscopy of Single Molecules in a Solid," Physical Review Letters 62, 2535 (1989). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.62.2535
  3. Gräslund, Astrid, Rudolf Rigler, and Jerker Widengren. 2010. "Single Molecule Spectroscopy In Chemistry, Physics and Biology: Nobel Symposium number 138". Springer Series in Chemical Physics, v. 96. Heidelberg [Germany]: Springer, 2010. 572 p. DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-02597-6
  4. "Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014." Nobelprize.org (accessed October 8, 2014).
  5. "Professor W.E. Moerner wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry." Stanford Report, October 8, 2014 (accessed October 8, 2014).