Let's talk about lab water
Let's talk about lab water
The Swedish inventor and entrepreneur, Alfred Nobel generously established a series of prizes to be awarded each year to the person who makes the most important discovery, invention or improvement within the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace, economics and physiology or medicine. That’s why, every year, the Nobel Prize Foundation in Stockholm honor the achievements of those individuals whose work has been for ‘the greatest benefit of mankind’. Since 1901, the prize has been awarded 567 times* with a grand total of 889 recipients.
We’re sure you’ll agree that the Nobel Prize is perhaps the most prestigious honour to be bestowed upon an individual for their contributions to humanity. Although, with an average age of 59 years amongst the Laureates and the oldest clocking in at a mighty 90 years, you might require a bit of patience if you intend to pursue a Nobel Prize. However, if your birthday falls on the 28 February or 21 May – you’re in luck! This is the day that the majority of Nobel recipients were born. So you share your special day with some extra-special folk.
For now though, let’s set our own ambitions aside and take a look the inspirational 2015 Nobel Prize winners in the Science categories!
There have been a grand total of 108 Nobel Prizes in Physics awarded between 1901 and 2014. The youngest, Lawrence Bragg, was just 25 years old when he was awarded the honour in 1915, making him the second youngest person ever to receive any Nobel Prize. John Bardeen received the accolade twice in 1956 and 1972. In 1903, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre received the Physics Prize, making Marie one of only two women ever to be awarded the prize in this category.
This year the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Physics Prize to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass”. Neutrinos are the second most abundant particle in our universe (after photons) and are considered nature’s most elusive elementary particles. For years, physicists have been puzzled by the mystery of missing neutrinos. According to theoretical calculations, about two thirds of neutrinos from the sun had disappeared on their way to earth. The work carried out by these fine gentlemen, shows that these neutrinos weren’t missing but had, in fact, changed identity. The implication is that neutrinos, previously considered to be mass-less, must indeed have a mass. This work has helped us gain a better understanding of the universe we live in.
Up until 2014, an almighty 107 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry have been bestowed upon 168 individuals. The Curie Family are pretty strong in this category with Marie, her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie, and son-in-law Frédéric Joliot all receiving recognition for their efforts in radioactive research. Frederick Sanger is the only person to have been awarded the Chemistry Prize twice. Once in 1958, for his work on the protein structure of insulin, and again in 1980 for researching the biochemistry of nucleic acids.
Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar received the 2015 Chemistry Prize “for mechanistic studies of DNA repair”. Their work shows how, at a molecular level, our cells repair DNA that has been damaged (e.g. by UV light) and reduce the frequency of errors that can occur during DNA replication. Knowing more about the repair kit of our cells could help us develop treatments for diseases such as cancer.
Since 1901, a total of 105 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded to 207 individuals. Of these, 35 awards have been shared between three Laureates. (The rules state that the prize each year can’t be shared between more than three people.) The most common field is genetics, with 48 Nobel Laureates dedicating their life’s work to this area of research. Some of the most recognizable awards in this category include the discovery of the ABO blood groups (1930), insulin (1923), penicillin (1945) and the structure of DNA (1962).
This year, the deserved honours went to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites” and Youyou Tu ” for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”. The researchers discovered two new drugs, Avermectin and Artemisinin, respectively. A derivative of Avermectin, known as Ivermectin, has lowered the incidence to Lymphatic Filariasis and River Blindness, and Artemisinin has been shown to significantly reduce mortality amongst Malaria-suffers.
Well there you have it, another eight magnificent minds to add to this prestigious list of impressive Nobel nobility. Be sure to check out the 2015 Nobel Prize winners in the Peace, Economic Sciences and Literature categories.
While the Nobel Prizes highlight some of the most exciting work being done across fields such as biology, chemistry and physics, we realize that thousands of scientists are working just as hard, every day, to add their own contribution to the world’s collective knowledge bank. We like to think we help in our own little way, by ensuring that the water they use is primed to help them delve into the complexity of their research projects, without having to worry about contamination or other issues that might hold them back.
*Statistics relate to 1901-2014 as listed on Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 8 Oct 2015.