Wednesday, October 04, 2006


So there we are, with all the science Nobels declared. Much speculation and prediction went on about the chemistry prize, on my blog as well as others, here, here, and most comprehensively here. Paul Bracher at Harvard stayed up the whole night keeping track of the proceedings online, and not without reason: his boss George Whitesides has been slotted to win the prize for some time now, and Harvard also has not recieved a prize since 1990. In all, in the posts and comments section, there were about 50 or so names advanced as predictions. Two of these, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello did get the prize, for medicine. In the end, the chemistry prize was scooped up by Roger Kornberg who was on nobody's list, the son of Nobel laureate Arthur Kornberg who won it in 1959, both from Stanford. Both the chemistry and medicine nobels this year have been awarded to molecular biology, and both to RNA in some way or the other. We can safely say now that RNA has become at least as important as DNA.

The physics prize was won for discoveries regarding the Big Bang, and the work of this year's laureates all but 'proves' the Big Bang. This discovery is a follow up on the famous discovery by Penzias and Wilson of the microwave background of the Bang, for which they were felicited in 1978.


Blogger Hirak said...

It was funny to see the evolution of the wiki article on Kornberg, Jr. as mentioned by Paul on his blog. As he said, this morning, it was just one sentence. By this evening it has expanded to a decent article. But was he working underground all these years, or what? He seems like a Great Unknown Genius?

10:14 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Probably! These crystallographers can always strike gold and then suddenly become famous. Plus, I get the feeling that he was the one to come up with the crystal structure of the transcription complex; I am sure many would have been working on the same problem.

We chemists have suddenly gotten wistful because of this prize, and some are debating the future of chemistry! Derek Lowe tries to placate us!

As a side note, that's why I think Venky Ramakrishnan from Cambridge might get the prize for sure; he solved the structure of the ribosome.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
at first glance

8:57 PM  

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