The winners of the 2011 Nobel Prizes were announced this week. The awards will be given out at a ceremony in December. Each of this week’s Sci Friday links concern the winners and the discoveries or achievements that earned them their prizes.
- In Physiology or Medicine: Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffman, and Ralph Steinman for improving our understanding of the immune system.
- In Physics: Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess for discovering that the Universe is expanding at an increasing rate, driven by a mysterious “dark energy.”
- In Chemistry: Dan Shechtman for discovering quasicrystals, a structure once thought to be impossible.
- In Literature: Thomas Transtromer, one of Scandinavia’s greatest poets.
- The Nobel Peace Prize: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian activists Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karmen, a pro-democracy activist in Yemen, for their nonviolent efforts in support of women’s rights.
- In Economic Science: will be announced Monday.
I’m particularly excited about this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry not only because of Dan Shechtman’s impossible crystals but because of the struggle he went through to get his discovery accepted by the scientific community. The one for physics is also pretty cool.