Petra Schwille, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, has been awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. She received the highest accolade of the Free State of Bavaria for her outstanding scientific achievements. After her groundbreaking work on the biophysics of single molecules, Petra Schwille has for several years been exploring the origin of life. With her research group she wants to construct a biological system from individual building blocks that is able to divide itself – an important step towards the primordial cell. Schwille said: “The award of the Maximilian Order is a particular honor for me, because I feel very much connected to the great scientific location of Munich and the Free State of Bavaria.”The Maximilian Order will be awarded on December 17 at the Munich Residence.