Dieter Oesterhelt, Emeritus Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, has been awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. He received the highest accolade of the Free State of Bavaria for his outstanding scientific achievements, most notably his discovery of the light-sensitive pigment bacteriorhodopsin. This discovery and the deciphering of its function helped pave the way for today’s research field of optogenetics and later practical applications. “I’m delighted that my decades of hard work in science together with many highly motivated colleagues has been recognized,” Oesterhelt said. Unfortunately, he will be unable to attend the award ceremony for the Maximilian Order on 28 November 2016 due to illness.