The 2009 Nobel Prize in ChemBioPhysMed

07 October 2009 - interdisciplinary research

It is in a good tradition that each year the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to biochemists and this year is no exception: this year's winners are Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath for their work (involving a lot of crystallography) on the structure and function of the ribosome. Typically Wikipedia was ill prepared and the Ramakrishnan and Steitz bio pages were created minutes after the announcement was made. On the upside Wikipedia already had relevant citations from the three laureates on the ribosome page and more for Yonath on the collagen and 16S ribosomal RNA pages.

Luckily this year, the chemists have managed to snag a Nobel prize away from the physicists. After all the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics is all about the wonderful material properties of glass, a substance that chemists have been tinkering with for over 2000 years. Charles K. Kao discovered how to purify glass for it to be useful in fiber optics.

Too bad the physicists in their turn were not able to get hold of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, that would complete the circle and make everybody happy after all. In 2003 that prize went to physicist Peter Mansfield for his work on MRI, so it is not unthinkable. The medicine prize this year is all about certain biomolecular structures inside cells that assist in copying certain genetic material, not more ribosomes (that would be chemistry!) but this time DNA and telomerase.

Archive: Now worthless predictions