Nobel Prize Chemistry Winners: Robert J. Lefkowitz, Brian K. Kobilka win Nobel Chemistry Prize

Two American scientists, Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Wednesday.

Last year, Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman from Technion - Israel Institute of Technology won the award for the discovery of quasicrystals, which was made in 1982, and "fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter," according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

On Tuesday, the Academy bestowed Nobel honors in physics on Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States for their work in quantum optics that allowed scientist to observe the workings of atoms without disturbing their properties. As a side effect, their work lays down principles that could lead to astronomically fast computers called "quantum computers," which would radically change human life, if ever invented.

On Monday, the Nobel Assembly awarded the prize for physiology or medicine to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka jointly for their discovery that stem cells can be made of mature cells and need not necessarily be taken from fetuses or embryos.

This year's monetary award will be 8 million Swedish kronor (about $1.2 million). This represents a drop of 20% compared with last year, from 10 million Swedish kronor, and is due to the turbulence that has hit financial markets.

The committee also will announce prizes in literature, peace and economics.

Since 1901, the committee has handed out the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 103 times. In certain years, mainly during World Wars I and II, no prize in chemistry was awarded.

The youngest recipient was Frederic Joliot, who won in 1935 at the age of 35. The oldest chemistry laureate was John B. Fenn, who was 85 when he received the prize in 2002.

Frederic Sanger was the only scientist to win the prize twice in chemistry for his work related to the structure of proteins and DNA.

There is a fine line between the science of chemistry and the fields of physics and biology. Famed female scientist Marie Curie of France, for example, won Nobel honors for her work in radiophysics in 1903 and then again in 1911 for discoveries in radiochemistry.


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