Web edition: October 23, 2012
Every fall, a few scientists receive big recognition when they’re named winners of the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry or medicine. On October 8, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering that adult cells can be forced to morph into other types of cells. The next day, Serge Haroche and David Wineland won the physics Nobel for independent experiments related to light and matter. And the day after that, Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka won the Nobel in chemistry for showing how cells use special molecules called receptors to communicate.
Each prize, shared between the winners in that category, brings a cash award of about $1.2 million. That’s not bad, especially since the award may come for work the scientists performed decades earlier.