2017 Nobel Prize Winners Announced

It is our duty as human beings to constantly expand the boundaries of our knowledge. It is our destiny to shine light on the mysteries of our world, champion our traditions and values, and build bridges towards humanity’s better co-existence. And it is our honor to celebrate those individuals and achievements that represent the brightest and the most spectacular aspects of human-kind.

Established in the name of Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, the nobel prize bestows five awards for accomplishments achieved in the fields: physics, chemistry, peace, literature and medicine/physiology. An additional sixth award was established by the Swedish National Bank in honor of Alfred Nobel himself. This year’s nobel prize awards goes to the following:

• Physics: Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, Kip S. Thorne

The first ever detected gravitational waves on September 14, 2015, marked a groundbreaking discovery in the field of physics. The detection of such a wave that originated from a pair of black holes matched the predictions of general relativity, silencing many skeptics of Albert Einstein’s theories on gravity as well as confirming space-time distortion. This discovery enabled scientists to explore the depth of the universe in the form of gravitational astronomy, an exciting and rewarding ending to a century long research.

• Chemistry: Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, Richard Henderson

The creation of “cryo-electron microscopy” allows for the visualisation of biological molecules (cells, proteins, enzymes) on a microscopic level. The first successful attempt for using electron microscopes to image bio-material was achieved in the 1980, and the technology to create 3D images with electron microscopes was experimented in roughly the same time. As of today with the help of all 3 scientists mentioned above, we are able to freeze biological molecules amid movement with high efficiency. This opens the door to previously impossible studies with a greater possible depth of analysis.

• Physiology/Medicine: Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, Michael W. Young

The physiology prize is awarded to the research of the human body’s biological clock, the mechanism that influences your sleep/wake cycles. For other animals and plants, it is synchronized with the Earth’s rotation. Also named the “circadian clock,” it is found to be controlled by one’s genes through the emission of proteins regularly in a day’s cycle. This internal biological clock is therefore predictable, and since it influences the body’s sleep and many related health issues, we ought to pay attention to the process.

• Literature: Kazuo Ishiguro

British Author Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of seven novels, most notably “Remains of the Day,” a story depicting the life of a butler in post-war UK. His works have been popularized in mainstream media and also have been filmed for a movie. His writing style is said to be stirring and containing “great emotional force”. Ishiguro’s works extend also to short fiction, screenplays, and music lyrics.

• Peace: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is an organization with more than 100 participating countries across the world. The campaign’s primary purpose is nuclear debate and disarmament through consideration of the humanitarian threats posed by such a weapon. The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons under the support of ICAN was adopted by the United Nations in a complete landslide of 122-1 votes (the single opposing vote was the Netherlands) The prize was dedicated as an “encouragement” and “tribute” for the efforts of those who wish to see world peace done.

– Andy Fan ’19

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