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Category: Nobel Prize
  • The Nobel committee praised Glück "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

    The acclaimed American poet and essayist Louise Glück has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature! The Nobel committee praised Glück "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal." The 77-year-old Yale professor is best known for lyric poems focused on intense personal experiences, such as those involving loss, rejection, desire, and healing. She has been honored with a Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris and a National Book Award for Faithful and Virtuous Night, as well as serving as the Poet Laureate of the United States for 2003 to 2004. In announcing the award, the Nobel Prize committee chair Anders Olsson, praised Glück's unique voice, observing: "It is candid and uncompromising, and it signals that this poet wants to be understood — but it is also a voice full of humor and biting wit.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna's development of a groundbreaking method for editing DNA which is widely considered the greatest breakthrough in the biological sciences since DNA was first discovered!

    Emmanuelle Charpentier, left, and Jennifer A. Doudna after receiving the Japan Prize for "outstanding achievements in science and technology" in 2017.

    Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry this week for their development of a groundbreaking method for editing DNA which is widely considered the greatest breakthrough in the biological sciences since DNA was first discovered! Doudna, an American biochemist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Charpentier, a French microbiologist and the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, Germany, discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, a tool that allows scientists to "snip" the DNA of organisms, allowing for easy and precise genetic modifications. The pair are the first women to jointly win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and represent the sixth and seventh women in history to win the chemistry prize. "This technology has utterly transformed the way we do research in basic science," asserts Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. "I am thrilled to see Crispr-Cas getting the recognition we have all been waiting for, and seeing two women being recognized as Nobel Laureates." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Andrea Ghez became the fourth woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for her discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

    Dr. Andrea Ghez was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics this week for her discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy! The astrophysicist, who is the Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics at UCLA, shares half of the prize with Reinhard Genzel of UC Berkeley; the other half recognizes Roger Penrose, a professor at the University of Oxford who proved that black holes must be a physical reality. Ghez was delighted to receive the award, particularly because she is only the fourth woman in history to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics. "I'm thrilled to receive the prize and I take very seriously the responsibility associated with being... the fourth woman to win," Ghez said after the announcement. "[And] I think today I feel more passionate about the teaching side of my job than I have ever. Because it's so important to convince the younger generation that their ability to question, and their ability to think, is just crucial to the future of the world." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Gerty Cori's groundbreaking work cracked the secrets of glucose, paving the way for treatments for diseases like diabetes.

    The groundbreaking scientist Dr. Gerty Cori was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Medicine and the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific field. She shared the Nobel with her husband and lifelong research partner, Carl. Although their experience and education was identical, it took thirteen years before she was finally promoted to the same rank as him at the university where they worked. Together, the Coris made numerous breakthroughs in medical research, including discoveries that paved the way for understanding and developing treatments for diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Despite the institutionalized sexism she faced throughout her career, Gerty's tremendous scientific mind could not be denied — and her work would change the field of biochemistry forever. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Greta Thunberg's leadership has inspired millions of young people to take a stand and demand action on climate change.

    Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen activist who founded the Youth Strike for Climate Movement and was one of 2019's most influential people, turned 17 today! She began her skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate) in August 2018 as a solo protest, but today her Fridays for Future protests span the globe. An estimated 1.4 million students in 125 countries turned out for the first Global Climate Strike in March and six million people participated in September's climate strike actions that took place in 4,500 locations in 150 countries. Greta has persisted in her work to demand action from governments to address this environmental crisis, despite frequent criticism, much of it based on her age. "I agree with [my detractors], I’m too young to do this," she wrote early in 2019. "We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue." Continue reading Continue reading

  • MIT professor Esther Duflo has helped transform the field of developmental economics by applying a scientific approach to policy interventions focused on alleviating global poverty.

    Dr. Esther Duflo has just become the second woman in history and the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize in Economics! The 46-year-old MIT professor shares the prize with her husband, Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, and colleague Dr. Michael Kremer; together they have helped millions of people around the world with their research to develop practical interventions to alleviating global poverty. “In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in today's prize announcement. After learning of her Nobel win, Duflo said she was "humbled" and, in light of how underrepresented women are in the field of economics, she hopes that it will "inspire many, many other women to continue working and many other men to give them the respect that they deserve like every single human being." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Donna Strickland is only the third woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Physicist Donna Strickland has just awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for her groundbreaking work studying light and lasers — becoming the third woman in 117 years to win the prestigious award. The 59-year-old associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Waterloo was a graduate student working on her doctoral dissertation when she and her supervisor invented chirped pulse amplification, a method that creates ultrashort, high-intensity bursts of laser light without destroying amplifiers. The technique is most famous for its use in the development of Lasik eye surgery, but it also allows manufacturers to drill tiny, precise holes and makes it possible to miniaturize laser systems. Strickland, who describes herself as a "laser jock," says that becoming the third woman ever to win a Nobel Prize in Physics is "surreal," adding, "It’s hard for me to take it in right now. But I’m trying to enjoy it." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Frances Arnold, who pioneered the field of "directed evolution," became the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Dr. Frances Arnold has just been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering the field of "directed evolution"  —  becoming the first American woman in history and the fifth woman overall to be honored.  The method she developed of engineering enzymes that mimic the process of natural selection has created a revolutionary new way for scientists and engineers to design more environmentally-friendly industrial processes. It's now being used in laboratories around the world to develop enzymes that can replace toxic compounds in everything from medicines to biofuels to laundry detergents. “My entire career I have been concerned about the damage we are doing to the planet and each other,” she says. “Change is easier when there are good, economically viable alternatives to harmful habits.” Continue reading Continue reading

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