Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nobel Prize Week--So Far

Three days, six Laureates:

Monday: John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka jointly won the prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent".  In other words, cell development isn't necessarily irreversible. Mature cells can return to a stem cell state and develop differently.  Explanation and some very promising medical uses here.

Tuesday: The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". That's to say they developed ways to work with individual particles without damaging them.  (And this one has the best chance for a mention on The Big Bang Theory.) More information here.

Wednesday: The 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors".  A giant step in understanding how our cells can sense and react to our environment.  Read more about it here.

It's been a big week for shared Nobel Prizes.  But next up is the Literature Prize.  Whoever gets it will almost certainly have it all to him/herself.  We'll see who it is tomorrow!

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