Some more Nobel Prizes

ByElsa Sc S

Doing her graduation from LUMS & a keen researcher


October 15, 2022

Elsa Sc S describes the conferment of some more prizes

Three scientists who achieved a distinct breakthrough in the crucial field of chemistry by devising a way to click molecules together, even inside living organisms, have been awarded the 2022 Nobel prize in chemistry. These three outstanding intellects Carolyn Bertozzi, at Stanford University, Morten Meldal, at the University of Copenhagen, and K Barry Sharpless, from Scripps Research in California, were feted for finding and exploiting elegant and efficient chemical reactions to create complex molecules for the pharmaceutical industry, mapping DNA and making designer materials.

While Nobel honors are rare enough, the prize puts Sharpless in the even more exclusive club of double winners. It is his second Nobel Prize in chemistry, his first being in 2001 for work on “chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions”. Four other scientists have won two Nobels, namely John Bardeen, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, and Fred Sanger. In addition, Sharpless coined the term “click chemistry” to describe reactions that are fast, high-yielding, and clean, meaning that they do not produce a lot of unwanted side-products.

One of the first click reactions, the copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition, was discovered independently by Sharpless and Meldal and sprouted its own branch of synthetic chemistry. Scientists have likened click chemistry to attaching small chemical buckles to molecular building blocks so they can be linked together. The trick was to find buckles that bound to each other and only each other.

Bertozzi drew on click chemistry to develop “bioorthogonal” reactions that operate safely inside living organisms without disrupting their biochemistry. The breakthrough allowed scientists to track the movement of biomolecules in cells and so tease apart the complex workings of life. The reactions developed by the winners have led scientists to make new types of biomolecules and create materials that can deliver cancer drugs precisely where they are needed in human patients.

Nobel Prizes History In Chemistry

Prof Gill Reid, the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry said of the winners. The work of the winners has incredible potential for applications in human health and medicines and the possibilities are incredibly exciting. Bertozzi is only the eighth woman to win the chemistry prize in Nobel history. In 2020, Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier, director of the Max Planck Research Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, and Prof Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, became the first two women to share the chemistry prize for work on the molecular scissors used to edit genetic code.

The Academy also announced the Nobel Peace Prize and it was jointly awarded. The jailed Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties have won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, in an award the committee said was to honor champions of peaceful coexistence during the most tumultuous period in Europe since the Second World War. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize would surely be viewed as a strong rebuke to Vladimir Putin, who turned 70 on Friday, but it was clarified that the award was not meant to address the Russian president, a strong ally of the authoritarian Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko.

Center For Civil Liberties

Bialiatski, the head of the Belarus rights group Viasna, was detained last July as part of a sweeping crackdown on the opposition by Lukashenko after huge anti-government demonstrations. He is the fourth person to receive the Nobel peace prize while in prison or detention, after Carl von Ossietzky of Germany in 1935, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar in 1991, and Liu Xiaobo of China in 2010.

The news was also welcomed in Ukraine, where the Center for Civil Liberties said in a statement it thanks the international community for their support, and that the prize was very important to us. The Center for Civil Liberties was established in 2007 and has done extensive work documenting Russian war crimes during the seven-month-long conflict in Ukraine.

The third recipient, the Russia Memorial group, was shut down by the Kremlin last year, in what was widely seen as a watershed moment in Putin’s crackdown on independent thought. Memorial was founded in the late 1980s to document political repressions carried out under the Soviet Union, building a database of victims of the Great Terror and gulag camps. At the time of closure, Memorial was the country’s oldest human rights group. The news that Memorial won the Nobel peace prize came as a court in Moscow was holding a hearing on seizing the group’s assets. The Weekender


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