Nobel Awards Recognizes Scientific and Creative Talent
It's Nobel season now. Many winners have been announced and will receive the US $1.2 million prize. It all goes back to Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and innovator who, in 1895, left the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace.
The Prize in Chemistry was given to a team who have developed computer models to predict complex chemical reactions that are useful for tasks such as creating new drugs. Three scientists received the award: Martin Karplus (University of Strasbourg, France; Harvard University); Michael Levitt (Stanford University School of Medicine), and Arieh Warshel (University of Southern California in Los Angeles).
Peter Higgs (UK) and Francois Englert (Belgim) shared the prize in Physics for their theory on how subatomic particles get their mass, while Canadian writer Alice Munro received the literature award for her contribution to the short story format.
The Medicine or Physiology award was given to three scientists. These are James E. Rothman (Yale University), Randy W. Schekman (University of California), and Thomas C. Südhof (Stanford University). They were recognized for their work in revealing how cells transport molecules like hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters around and between cells.
“One of the major lessons in all of biochemistry, cell biology and molecular medicine is that when proteins operate at the sub-cellular level they behave in certain way, as if they were mechanical machinery. It's absolutely fascinating. When you ... when we study chemistry, the rules of chemistry, electrons and so on, they operate at an even smaller level of atoms and molecules. But when you get to the sort of level of the nanoscale, you find that these objects start behaving as if they were mechanical,” Dr. Rothman said during the traditional phone call the Nobel Institute makes to winners.
Dr. Rothman joins the ranks of American Cancer Society grantees to have their work recognized with a Nobel. “We are extremely proud to see Dr. Rothman receive this honor, becoming the 47th American Cancer Society grantee to be awarded the Nobel Prize,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., American Cancer Society chief executive officer.
A Norwegian committee will announce the Nobel Peace Prize winner or winners tomorrow (11). This year's Nobel season ends with the Economics award on Monday (14).
Image credit: Nobelprize.org