The Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 following a will left by Alfred Nobel a Sweden engineer and chemist after his death. Nobel wrote a will that instructed his executors to use his wealth and fortunes to recognize and award scientists in the fields of physiology, medicine, peace, literature, physics and chemistry. The will met several criticisms but was later approved and the first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901 in the named fields.
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The Nobel Prize includes a package of a gold medal, a consensus sum of money and a diploma. The foundation is funded by external awarding institutions which reinforces the Nobel fortunes. The winners are chosen by other organizations not related to the Nobel foundation. Prizes are also awarded by different institutions i.e. Karolinska Institute awards the physiology and medicine prize, Swedish Academy awards the literature prize while the physics and chemistry awards are given by the Royal Swedish Academy ( "competitive science vision" 1).
The Nobel Prize winners of 2009 in the field of physics were Willard S. Boyle, Kao K Charles and George E Smith. Charles Kao is Chinese born in 1933 and works in the Chinese university in Hong Kong. He was then working in a telecommunication laboratory (Chang 1). He received 50% of the physics prize for inventing that light could be transmitted via glass fibers over long distances. This was a great discovery that applied to the communications sector especially optical communication. Smith and Willard received 25% of the prize each for inventing a semiconductor that translated light into electric image signals. This discovery was a great achievement in the digital imaging sector as the CCD sensors were used to refine the digital camera. Both Smith and Willard are from Bell laboratories in the USA. Boyle was born in Canada in 1924 while Smith was born in 1930 (Chang 1).
In the field of medicine, all the winners came from USA. The group consisted of two women Elizabeth Blackburn and Greider Carol and one man Jack Szostak. Each of the laureates received a 3rd of the prize. Blackburn from the University of California in Canada was born in Australia in 1948. Carol Greider was born in 1961 and comes from the John Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore. Szostak born in UK in 1952 is part of many health organizations such as Howard Hughes medical school and Harvard medical school in Boston (Wade 1). All the three had a collective role in discovering how telomeres; the structures found at the ends of higher animal chromosomes and the enzyme telomerase played a role in protecting the chromosomes. They explained how reverse transcription could be used to create the telomeric DNA sequence from RNA. This was a great advancement in cancer and other related human diseases (Dreifus 1).
Lastly the laureates in chemistry were three personalities, two men and one woman. Like the physics prize, each of them received a 3rd of the prize. Yonath E. Ada from Israel was born in 1939 and works in the Weizmann institute of Science. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Indian born in 1952 lives in the UK and works for a Molecular Biology Laboratory in Cambridge. He is a citizen of USA and has schooled in various universities e.g. Ohio, University of California and Maharaja University. Thomas Steitz was born in 1940 and is from Yale University in USA (Overbye 1).He is also a part of the Howard Hughes medical institute. They made tremendous discovery in molecular biology science concerning the complete structure of the ribosome and more so the 30S subunit of the ribosome. They also made deductions concerning interactions between most antibiotics and the ribosome i.e. mRNA and tRNA hence the mechanisms of actions of this drugs. This shed more light in the process of translation that involves both mRNA and tRNA in molecular biology. The group also explained in details the functions of the ribosome based on the findings in the laboratory (Overbye 1).
The Nobel foundations has at all means tried to execute the roles given to it by the statutes despite the many challenges it faces in determining the winners of each year's awards. A criterion therefore must be used since not all eligible candidates can be awarded the prizes. Hence the chosen few have to be accepted by the wider global community as the best in all the named fields that the Nobel Foundation covers.
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