The 2012 Nobel Prizes for Science

Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Swedish philanthropist and inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895 through a provision in his will. Although two more prizes are yet to be awarded, the 2012 Nobel Prize winners in the science categories all have been announced. Here are this year's winners in the categories of medicine, physics, and chemistry:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 was awarded jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that “mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent.” The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialized cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their work revolutionized the understanding of how cells and organisms develop.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems." Haroche and Wineland have independently invented and developed methods for measuring and manipulating individual particles while preserving their quantum-mechanical nature, in ways that were previously thought unattainable.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors." The studies by Lefkowitz and Kobilka are crucial for understanding how G-protein–coupled receptors function. About a thousand genes code for such receptors (for example, for light, flavor, odor, adrenalin, histamine, dopamine, and serotonin). About half of all medications achieve their effect through G-protein–coupled receptors.

In the days to come, Nobelprize.org will post more information on their site, including video interviews of this year’s winners, videos of the awards ceremony, and videos of the Nobel Lectures in which the Laureates explain their Nobel Prize-awarded work.

Join us in congratulating the winners. You can even post your congratulations online at Nobelprize.org!

Source: "The Nobel Prizes." Nobelprize.org. 10 Oct 2012 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/
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