Columbian President Juan Manuel Santoswon the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a five-decades-long civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people in the South American country.
The award came just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal that Santos helped bring about, and Nobel authorities conspicuously left out his counterpart, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, from the honor.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that voters' rejection doesn't mean the peace process is dead.
"The referendum was not a vote for or against peace," it said. "What the `No' side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement."
Santos and Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, signed the peace deal last month, ending a half-century of hostilities, only to see a major setback in the shock vote against the agreement in a referendum six days later.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it believes that Santos, "despite the `No' majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution."
It said the award should also be seen "as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process."
Molecular machines roll in for the 2016 chemistry Nobel
Ben Feringa, Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Fraser Stoddart take chemistry’s top gong for creating a series of nanoscale machines
The 2016 Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to Jean Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa for building a world of molecular machines.
From wheels to motors and cars to lifts, this year’s laureates have built a series of machines that are about 1000 times smaller than a human hair. ‘These three laureates … have opened this entire field of molecular machinery,’ said Olof Ramstrom, a member of the Nobel committee for chemistry, upon announcing the prize. ‘They have shown it is possible to make a machine at the molecular scale.’
Richard Feynman first laid down the challenge to construct a molecular machine in his famous lecture, There’s plenty of room at the bottom, in 1959. But little movement had been made in the field until Jean-Pierre Sauvage from the University of Strasbourg, France, unlocked the key to creating a molecular chain in 1983.
Sauvage forged this chain, known as a catenane, by using a copper-complexed ring and two cresent-shaped molecules. His group would go on to create an array of interlocked chains, including a trefoil knot and even a molecular Mjolnir – Thor’s mighty hammer in Norse mythology. More importantly, however, in 1994 Sauvage turned a catenane into a functioning motor, in which one ring rotated around the other.
Fraser Stoddart, from Northwestern University, US, and a member of Chemistry World’s international advisory board, is recognised as one of the first scientists to create amolecular shuttle called a rotaxane. In 1991, Stoddart’s group threaded a hydroquinol ring onto a polyether rod. When the group applied heat to these rotaxanes, the ring moved forward and back along the rod. Stoddart has since gone on to exploit their full potential, synthesising a rotaxane lift and artificial muscle.
Credited with constructing the first molecular motor, Ben Feringa, based at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and chair of Chemistry World’s editorial board, was able to get an ‘overcrowded’ alkene to spin in one direction by exposing it to UV light and heat. The rotor went on to inspire Feringa to build a nanocar with fully functioning molecular wheels. By 2014, Feringa was able to spin this molecular rotor at 12 million revolutions per second.
‘This year’s Nobel prize in chemistry strikes me as recognition of the value of chemical imagination,’ says Jeremy Berg, editor in chief of Science. Berg explains such molecular motors initially stirred up controversy as scientists weren’t sure whether they could be defined as molecules, given they weren’t held together by covalent bonds. ‘It is a good sign that you have discovered/invented something novel when you create such a controversy.’
‘This is fantastic news and good to see such a core area of chemistry receiving such attention around the world,’ said Royal Society of Chemistry chief executive, Robert Parker. ‘Their inspirational chemistry has caught the imagination of so many people, fascinated by the ability to design functionality into molecules at an incredibly detailed level. Molecular motors are an ideal topic for outreach and getting people interested in chemistry. They give us an insight into the molecular world through a simple idea that everybody can understand – the mechanism of motors.’
Stuart Cantrill, chief editor ofNature Chemistryand a former PhD student of Stoddart’s, is overjoyed that this field has been recognised by the Nobel committee. ‘I think it’s validation that other people think it’s important enough to win this type of prize,’ Cantrill tellsChemistry World. ‘As the years have gone on, people, Ben and Fraser especially, have made little machines that are more capable of more complex tasks and operations – it’s not just simple interlocked molecules anymore, it is little machines that can do things.’
‘Despite all this talk of applications, this area really is a triumph of “pure” science – the field has taken 32 years from Sauvage’s first publication to now,’ says Steve Goldup from the University of Southampton, UK. ‘It may take a couple more years before these systems deliver on their promise but the trajectory is there and really relies on the breakthrough delivered by the fathers of the field.’
David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz win
2016 Nobel Physics Prize
STOCKHOLM: British-born scientists David Thouless,Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for work that "revealed the secrets of exotic matter," the prize committee said.
The three "opened the door" to an unknown world where matter takes unusual states or phases, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
They were for their "theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."
Thouless, 82, is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington. Haldane, 65, is a physics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. Kosterlitz, 73, is a physics professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Their research was conducted in the 1970s and '80s. Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago, to make sure they withstand the test of time.
This year's Nobel Prize announcements started Monday with the medicine award going to Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi for discoveries on autophagy, the process by which a cell breaks down and recycles content.
The chemistry prize will be announced on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics and literature awards will be announced next week.
Each prize has a purse of 8 million kronor ($930,000). The winners also collect a medal and a diploma at the award ceremonies on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine is Awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his “discoveries of mechanisms for
Professor Ohsumi has been recognized for his
role in the discovery of autophagy, a cellular self-renewal process.
AsianScientist (Oct. 4, 2016) Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology has
been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on autophagy, the process used by
cells to break down damaged organelles and recycle unused proteins.
The Nobel is the third prize Ohsumi has won this year. Earlier in the year, Ohsumi's work was
recognized with the Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, the 45 Rosenstiel Award and
the 15 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences. Ohsumi is also highly feted in his home country, having
been honored with the 2015 International Prize for Biology given out by the Japan Society for the
Promotion of Science as well as the 2012 Kyoto Prize.
Working in yeast, Ohsumi was the first to identify genes controlling autophagy in the 1990s. Since
then, it has become clear that autophagy is essential for normal cell homeostasis, and defects in
autophagy have been linked to a diseases ranging from Alzheimer's disease to cancer. Autophagy is
known to be triggered by intermittent fasting and is thought to be one reason fasting appears to stave
off aging. Although there are currently no drugs that target autophagy available on the market,
both autophagy activators and inhibitors are being developed.
“I’d like to stress again the importance of basic research,” said Ohsumi as reported by the Wall
Street Journal. “When I started researching, I never thought this was research that would lead to a
Nobel Prize. To be honest, that was never something that was motivating me.”
Ohsumi beat other Asian contenders predicted by Thomson Reuters to beCitation Laureates likely to
win the 2016 Nobel Prize, including ProfessorTasuku Honjo of Kyoto University and Professor Dennis
Lo of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His win marks the second year in a row that a Japanese
scientist has won the Nobel Prize in Medicine and the first time since 2010 that the Prize has gone to a