Prize for a Nobel Cause

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  October 8, 2007 at 6:30 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Most of us are familiar with the Nobel Prizes. They generate visions in us, of Watson and Crick, who unraveled the myriad world of molecular biology, of the missionary of peace, Mother Teresa and of the sublime and inspiring poetries of Rabindranath Tagore. But who are the lucky ones this year? In keeping with the tradition, the rumor mill is agog and several speculations are strewn around. The Nobel committee, however, is decidedly silent.
Prize for a Nobel Cause
Prize for a Nobel Cause

Each year, the Nobel prizes are given away for physics, chemistry, physiology (or) medicine, peace, literature and economics. These coveted prizes are committed to recognize, motivate and reward talents par excellence and also to acknowledge selfless, humanitarian causes, globally.

In 1895, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist, initiated the awards through his will. The award consists of a gold medal, 10 million Swedish kronev, equivalent to 1.53 million US dollars and a diploma.

The Nobel committee has set October 8-15 as the dates for announcing the prestigious awards for 2007.On the 8th of October, the prize for physiology or medicine will be announced. Five of the six prizes are to be declared at Stockholm, while the peace prize will be announced in Oslo the Norwegian capital. On December 10, at an annual century-old ceremony that marks Alfred Nobel's death, these awards are to be given away.

In keeping with customs, predictions are rampant. According to the Thomson Scientific the contenders for the Nobel prize for medicine are Fred H.Gage, who works on adult neurogenesis, Joan Massague who researches the action of growth factor beta and the team of R. John Ellis, F. Ulrich Hartl, and Arthur Horwich for working with the tenets of protein folding. There are other bodies that place their bet on candidates such as Randy Schekman, James Rothman and Craig Ventor.

Last year, the Nobel Prize for medicine was shared by Andrew Fire (Stanford University) and Craig Mello who worked on RNA interference (RNAi). This phenomenal technique, capable of bringing about a medical upheaval, allows certain genes to be selectively silenced.

Climatic changes on a global scale in bound to impact world peace. Therefore it is only apt that the battle for the peace prize is between Al Gore, former US vice-president and Canadian Inuit Sheila Watt-Cloutier. The scales are reported to be tilted in favor of Gore for highlighting climate change through his film, An Inconvenient Truth. Sheila on her part created awareness on the changes in the artic climate.

Despite being riddled with controversies, including the 'glaring' omission of Mahatma Gandhi, the Nobel Prizes continue to be 'the most coveted'. In the field of science, the Americans, who made a clean sweep last year, continue to steal the show. Let us hope that the winds of change, along with the scientific zeal that burns in young hearts the world over, bring forth Nobel laureates aplenty!

Source: Medindia

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