After obtaining a BS in Physics from Caltech, Eric Betzig moved to Cornell, where his thesis involved the development of near-field optics -- the first method to break the diffraction barrier in light microscopy. Betzig became a PI at AT&T Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, where he further refined the technology and explored many applications, including high density data storage, semiconductor spectroscopy, and superresolution fluorescence imaging of cells. In 1993, Betzig was the first to image single fluorescent molecules under ambient conditions, and determine their positions to better than 1/40 of the wavelength of light. Tiring of academia, he served as Vice President of R&D at his father’s machine tool company, developing a high speed motion control technology based on an electrohydraulic hybrid drive with adaptive control algorithms. The commercial failure of the technology left him unemployed and his search for new directions culminated in the invention and demonstration of the superresolution technique PALM by himself and fellow Bell Labs expatriate, Harald Hess. Since 2005, Betzig has been a Group Leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, developing new optical imaging technologies for biology. Betzig won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “The development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.