Nobel Prizes.. 2022

ByElsa Sc S

Doing her graduation from LUMS & a keen researcher


October 10, 2022

Elsa describes phenomenal achievements

This is the Nobel Prizes..2022 season as every October the committees in Norway and Sweden announce laureates in sciences, literature, and economics as well as peace work. They award the highly prestigious Nobel awards in six categories recognizing the outstanding contribution of an individual or an organization in a specific field such as physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, economic science, literature, and peace work.

The Nobel academy was constrained to make adjustments during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 and had to hold some events digitally many events were much smaller in size but this year laureates will receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas in Stockholm in December with winners from the previous two years will also be invited. The winners will also receive a Nobel Prize diploma, medal, and amount of 10 million Swedish coronae equivalent to $900,000.

This year’s prize for medicine award has been won by Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo for pioneering the use of ancient DNA to unlock secrets about human evolution. His father biochemist Sune Bergström was part of a trio that won the Nobel Prizes..2022 for medicine in 1982. It was mentioned that his research accomplished something seemingly impossible when he sequenced the first Neanderthal genome and revealed that Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals. His discovery was made public in 2010 after Pääbo pioneered methods to extract, sequence, and analyze ancient DNA from Neanderthal bones. Thanks to his work, scientists can compare Neanderthal genomes with the genetic records of humans living today.

Pääbo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; paleogenomics by revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins and his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes humans uniquely human.

Nobel Prize For Physics

Pääbo found that most present-day humans share 1% to 4% of their DNA with Neanderthals, meaning Neanderthals and Homo sapiens must have encountered one another and had children before Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago. He has worked as the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany since 1997, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at London’s Natural History Museum. His major contribution is being a pioneer in recovering ancient DNA and that has been extremely important in the study of human evolution.

Pääbo’s subsequent work extracting DNA from tiny fossil fragments found in a cave in Siberia revealed an equally sensational discovery. The genome he sequenced showed an entirely new kind of extinct human, called Denisovans after the name of the cave. By comparing Denisovan DNA with the genetic records of modern humans, Pääbo then showed that some populations in Asia and Melanesia inherited up to 6% of their DNA from this enigmatic ancient human.

The Nobel Prizes..2022 for Physics was shared by three physicists this year for their pioneering work in quantum physics. Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger were born in France, California, and Austria respectively. The three scientists will share the prize money of 10 million Swedish krona ($915,000). Their discoveries have added to and furthered the work of John Stewart Bell, whose theorem changed the scientific world’s understanding of quantum mechanics. The winners’ work confirmed that quantum mechanics actually have utility in real-world applications. It is not just this theory to explain the counterintuitive nature of the quantum world. And t showed that by measuring some of the predictions we can engage in applications like quantum computing and quantum cryptography.

Trio’s Discoveries

It was stated that the trio’s discoveries are potentially going to change our world in terms of really practical things, like being able to do quantum computing; solutions that will help us with everything from vaccines, to tech, to weather prediction. There are just so many different types of computations that we can do through quantum information science that we can’t do with classical computers. The winners have been highly regarded within academia for several decades.

Physicists had struggled to explain how quantum mechanics allows two particles to affect each other’s behavior. That these two particles are entangled in a way that, no matter how distant they are from each other, making a measurement on one determines the measurement on the other. That sort of blows the mind of a physicist but that is what actually happens. Now the phenomenon could allow the secure transfer of information across huge distances between quantum computers using the features of entanglement – a process that Zeilinger described as quantum teleportation.

Despite the science fiction connotations, he dismissed the idea of teleporting people. He said that it is not like in the Star Trek films transporting something – certainly not a person – over some distance but the point is using entanglement one can transfer all the information carried by an object over to some other place … where the object is reconstituted. So far it is only done with very small particles. Despite such solid breakthroughs much still remains unknown about quantum mechanics. The Weekender


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