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Hermann Gaub studied physics in Ulm and Munich and completed his PhD in 1984 at the TU Munich with the investigation of scaling concepts in two-dimensional polymers. He then went to Stanford and explored antigen presentation in the immunological synapse. Back in Munich as an associate professor, he pioneered the use of atomic force microscopy for the study of mechanical properties of single molecules. His investigations have had a significant impact on our view of the role of mechanical forces in biology. His lab was the first to measure the interaction forces between individual ligand-receptor systems and to provide a detailed view of their binding potentials and unbinding forces. Having taken over the chair for Applied Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in 1995, he invented single molecule force spectroscopy techniques and applied them to the study of biopolymers. His group was the first to explore the unique mechanical properties of single proteins. In addition to these fundamental developments, his lab used the single molecule AFM approach to engineer the first man-made single molecule motor and to pioneer single molecule cut-and-paste technology. Hermann Gaub is co-founder and director of several institutions amongst them the Center for NanoScience Munich. He has received multiple honors such as the Max Planck Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Langmuir Lecture Award of the American Chemical Society. He holds an adjunct professorship at the Jilin University and is a member of several institutions and academies including the German National Academy.