Nobel Prize 2012

TNI Bureau: Recently the names for Nobel Prize are announced in Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Prize recognizes excellence in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace initiatives, and Economics.

Physics

A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world — research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers.

Frenchman Serge Haroche and American David Wineland (both 68) opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles while preserving their quantum properties.

The two researchers use opposite approaches to examine, control and count quantum particles, said the academy. Mr. Wineland traps ions electrically charged atoms and measures them with light, while Mr. Haroche controls and measures photons, or light particles.

Chemistry

Americans Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals.

Using radioactivity, Dr. Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works. Dr. Kobilka’s work helped researchers realize that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.

Medicine

Two scientists from different generations, Britain’s John Gurdon and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka, won the 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine for the groundbreaking discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed into immature cells and that can be turned into all tissues of the body.

Their finding in the field of medicine that cells in the body can be reprogrammed to become completely different kinds, potentially opening the door to growing customized tissues for treatments. These discoveries have also provided new tools for scientists around the world and led to remarkable progress in many areas of medicine.

Literature

Mo Yan, a novelist, became the first writer in China to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. With hallucinatory realism he merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.

Mr. Mo was born as Guan Moye, later adopted the pen name of Mo Yan — meaning “don’t speak” in Chinese. His sweeping novels often reflected the turmoil of 20th century China, from the Cultural Revolution to the horrors of family planning campaigns, depicted powerfully in his 2009 work Frog, which tells the story of a midwife haunted by the forced abortions she witnesses.

Mr. Mo has, however, received criticism from some Chinese dissidents and authors for not being critical enough of the Communist Party’s censorship regime and not speaking up for other silenced writers.

Peace

The European Union won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe despite being in the midst of its biggest crisis since the bloc was created in the 1950s.

The EU rose from the ashes of World War II, born of the conviction that ever-closer economic ties would make sure that century-old enemies never turned on each other again. It’s now made up of 500 million people in 27 nations, with other nations lined up, waiting to join.

“The stabilizing part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace,” Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

It was not yet clear who would accept the prize for the EU.

Economics

US scholars Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the 2012 Nobel Economics Prize for research on “the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.”

Their work can be used to help match donors of human organs with patients in need of a transplant, or students with universities, or Internet search engines that auction out space for advertisers.

Conclusion

The Nobel Prizes were established in the will of 19th century Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Each award is worth 8 million kronor, or about $1.2 million. The awards are always handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.

The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank prize in economic sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of awards set out in the Nobel’s  1895 will. The committee responsible said the prize was “for an outstanding example of economic engineering.”

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