The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the prestigious Gregori Aminoff Crystallography Prize, one of the physics research community’s highest honors, to Arizona State University Regents Professor John Spence.

Spence and his colleagues Janos Hajdu from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Henry Chapman from Hamburg University and DESY laboratory in Germany, received the award in honor of their innovative work in the structural imaging of molecular mechanisms with powerful X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL). Their work provided the foundation to see with near atomic precision molecular machines like biomolecules, a major advancement for the field of structural biology and its potential applications to improve drug targeting, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy.

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