The annual celebration of scientific discovery and cultural improvement known as the Nobel Prizes has now concluded its 2013 edition. The scientists behind the identification of the Higgs boson particle at CERN received well-earned recognition, while the impact of science was also felt on the Peace Prize award. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was the surprising choice in that category, with the awarding committee acknowledging not only its work in overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, but its broader mission to put a global stop to chemical warfare of all kinds.
Oct 11, 2013
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the decision at a press conference held in Oslo Friday morning, saying it chose the OPCW "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons." The organization will receive a monetary prize of $1.25 million, to be awarded at a ceremony in December.Read Article >
Based in the Hague, Netherlands, the OPCW was founded in 1997 to uphold the international Chemical Weapons Convention. This year, the organization deployed a team of experts to Syria, following a series of attacks widely believed to have been launched by the army of President Bashar al-Assad. An August 21st attack outside Damascus nearly prompted US President Barack Obama to launch a military strike against Assad, but the conflict was avoided after Syria agreed to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and open its arsenal for inspection. Inspectors began overseeing the destruction of Assad's stockpiles last week.
Oct 10, 2013
The Swedish Academy announced in Stockholm, Sweden this morning that Canadian writer Alice Munro has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, calling her the "master of the contemporary short story." Munro, who is 82 years old, is the 13th woman to win the prize, which has been awarded since 1901.Read Article >
Munro, who was born in Ontario in 1931 and lives there today, focuses much of her fiction on her native environs, and in a statement to the New York Times through her publisher, Random House, Munro said, "I’m particularly glad that winning this award will please so many Canadians." She continued, “I’m happy, too, that this will bring more attention to Canadian writing.”
Oct 9, 2013
Drs. Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing computer models used to predict and understand chemical processes. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the decision Wednesday morning at a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The three chemists will share a monetary prize of 8 million Swedish krona ($1.2 million), to be awarded at a ceremony in December.Read Article >
The Austrian-born Karplus, 83, is an emeritus professor at Harvard University and the Université de Strasbourg in France. He, Levitt, and Warshel began their work in the 1970s, laying the groundwork for a model capable of simulating classical Newtonian processes alongside quantum physics. Their work proved to be remarkably forward-looking, prefiguring an era where chemical processes are modeled not with "plastic balls and sticks," as the Academy noted, but with powerful computer simulations.
Oct 8, 2013
Drs. Peter Higgs and François Englert have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their work in identifying and discovering the Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle" that could explain how the universe's elementary particles obtained their mass shortly after the Big Bang. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners at a press conference held this morning in Stockholm, Sweden, following an unusually lengthy delay. The two will share a prize of 8 million Swedish krona (about $1.2 million) that will be awarded at a ceremony in Stockholm in December.Read Article >
Higgs, an 84-year-old British professor at the University of Edinburgh, predicted the existence of the particle that would bear his name in 1964, when he laid the framework for the Higgs mechanism. Englert and Dr. Robert Brout, Belgian physicists at the Free University in Brussels, actually "beat" Higgs by two weeks with a 1964 paper outlining the existence of an invisible forcefield that endows elementary particles with mass. They stopped short of identifying the particle associated with this forcefield, as Higgs did, though Englert and Brout would later argue that its existence was implied by their work.
Oct 7, 2013
A trio of scientists have been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine, thanks to a series of groundbreaking discoveries that explain how some materials are transported inside of cells. The findings are credited with charting the course of modern research in cellular biology.Read Article >
The $1.2 million award was today handed out to a trio of researchers: James Rothman, Thomas Sudhof, and Randy Shekman are responsible for an array of findings (some dating back to the 1970s) that explain how small packages called vesicles organize and deliver substances like hormones, enzymes, or neurotransmitters both within and outside of cells.