All eyes were on Stockholm and Oslo this week as the Nobel Prize Committees gathered to award the 2013 Nobel Prizes.
The five prizes in Literature, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry, and the Nobel Peace Prize were handed out in the annual week long ceremony. They included the 45th woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize and recognition of a man involved in the discovery of the “God Particle”.
Nobel Prize in Literature
“master of the contemporary short”
Alice Munro of Canada became on the 45th woman in Nobel Prize history to be honored by the committee. She joins the ranks of women like Marie Curie, Mother Theresa, Pearl S. Buck, Linda Buck (whose work on the olfactory system likely played a part in the discovery of peanut butter diagnosing Alzheimer’s), and Toni Morrison.
Munro was recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee as being a ”master of the contemporary short story”. Those who have had the opportunity to enjoy her work, like “The Love of a Good Woman” and her newest collection “Dear Life”, would be hard pressed to disagree.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
“for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems”
Martin Karplus of the University of Strasbourg, France, and Harvard University
Michael Levitt of the Stanford University School of Medicine
Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles
The three chemists who shared the Prize this year worked on developing computer models that predict complex reactions that will aid in many facets of chemistry, including developing new drugs.
Nobel Prize in Physics
“for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”
In a move that should come as a surprise to no one, this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was shared by Peter Higgs and Francois Englert who, separately, worked on the theory as to how subatomic particles obtain their mass. The so called “God Particle” was the result, in part, of the earlier work of these two men.
Nobel Prize in Medicine
“for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”
James E. Rothman of Yale
Randy W. Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Thomas C. Sudhof of the Stanford University School of Medicine
Vesicles are “tiny bubbles” within cells, but there was likely no Don Ho serenade as the three men who pioneered breakthroughs in our understanding of how vesicles move things within cells accepted their Nobel Prize.
Nobel Peace Prize
“for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”
Perhaps in another “surprise to no one”, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Most recently praised for their work in Syria, playing a part in stopping the chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime, the organization was first created in 1997 as a part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Commonly known as a “watchdog” organization, the OPCW is tasked with investigating and overseeing the destruction of chemical weapons.
Nobel Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland did make a point to say that OPCW was on the Committee’s watchlist before their actions in Syria.
The last prize, for Economic Sciences, will be announced on Monday, October 14th.