This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded for pioneering studies of human evolution that harnessed precious snippets of DNA found in fossils that are tens of thousands of years old.
The work of Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, Germany, led to the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome and the discovery of a new group of hominins called the Denisovans, and also spawned the fiercely competitive field of palaeogenomics.
By tracing how genes flowed between ancient hominin populations, researchers have been able to trace these groups’ migrations, as well as the origins of some aspects of modern human physiology, including features of the immune system and mechanisms of adaptation to life at high altitudes.
Three quantum physicists have won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for their experiments with entangled photons, in which particles of light become inextricably linked. Such experiments have laid the foundations for an abundance of quantum technologies, including quantum computers and communications.
Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger will each share one-third of the 10-million-kronor (US$915,000) prize.
“I was actually very surprised to get the call,” said Zeilinger, a physicist at the University of Vienna, at the press conference announcing the award. “This prize would not be possible without the work of more than 100 young people over the years.”
Three chemists who pioneered a useful technique called click chemistry to join molecules together efficiently have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Barry Sharpless at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, and Morten Meldal at the University of Copenhagen laid the foundation for click chemistry, and both independently discovered a pivotal reaction that could link two molecules — an azide and an alkyne — with relative ease1,2,3. This reaction has been used to develop a host of molecules, including plastics and potential pharmaceuticals.
The third winner, Carolyn Bertozzi at Stanford University in California, used click chemistry to map the complex sugar-based polymers called glycans on the surface of living cells without disturbing cell function4. To do this, she developed processes called bioorthogonal reactions, which are now being used to aid the development of cancer drugs.
The ‘natural experiments’ approach to economics that won three researchers the 2021 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences has helped to make the field more robust, say economists.
Joshua Angrist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Guido Imbens at Stanford University in California and David Card at the University of California, Berkeley, received the award for work that shows how causation can be inferred from observational data in real-world natural experiments. Their work has been used to examine, for example, how different minimum wages affect jobs and businesses; and the economic impacts of immigration.
This year’s ‘Nobel’ (actually the Riksbank) prize for economics went to Stanford University economists, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson. According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, they “have studied how auctions work. They have also used their insights to design new auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies. Their discoveries have benefited sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world.”
So in a world where inequality is at record levels, global warming and environmental degradation are threatening to destroy the planet and there is a world economic slump not seen since the 1930s, the prize givers recognise the work of two economists on how to make the auctions of commodities, land and services more efficient. Read More »
It’s CRISPR. Two scientists who pioneered the revolutionary gene-editing technology are the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The Nobel Committee’s selection of Emmanuelle Charpentier, now at the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, and Jennifer Doudna, at the University of California, Berkeley, puts an end to years of speculation about who would be recognized for their work developing the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tools. The technology allows precise edits to the genome and has swept through laboratories worldwide since its inception in the 2010s. It has countless applications: researchers hope to use it to alter human genes to eliminate diseases; create hardier plants; wipe out pathogens and more.Read More »
A mathematical physicist and two astronomers have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries relating to the most massive and mysterious objects in the Universe — black holes.
British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, 89, receives half the prize for theoretical work that showed how Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity should result in black holes, which have a gravitational pull so strong that even light cannot escape.Read More »
Everybody believed in the glory of the King and his gospel of sending poverty to museum with the help of microcredit.
Because, first, the development agencies of the western countries, and then, kings-queens-presidents-first ladies, international pundits and local consultants, a group of universities and think tanks, a part of global media and their local copycats orchestrated the hype. They all tried to make us believe he is the King for vanishing poverty from the earth. We subscribed their non-stop sermons. Promoters of the King mesmerized us and reinforced our trust in his manufactured image with record number of awards, degrees, honors, medals and laurels. The icon building process reached its pinnacle with the blessing of a mighty resident of the White House, president Bill Clinton, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee bestowed him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. By that time, he became the national hero of the donor-sponsored civil society movement and a proponent of poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, good governance, anti-corruption, fair elections and so on.Read More »