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Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media
Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media

Who got a call from Sweden this year?

Once again, the week has come when phones are ringing and the most prestigious awards for science, peace and literature are being presented.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was won by David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian as they unravelled the secrets of feeling.

David Julius, Ardem Patapoutian. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media
David Julius, Ardem Patapoutian. Ilustration: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media

Their research explains the molecular background of the sensations of heat, cold, and physical force. Although feeling seems self-evident, understanding it is important as it strongly influences our perception of the environment and ourselves.

The physics prize is shared by Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi for their contribution to the understanding of complex physical systems.

Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, Giorgio Parisi. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media
Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, Giorgio Parisi. Ilustration: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media

Manabe and Hasselmann improved the prediction of global warming by physically modelling the Earth’s climate. Parisi, however, contributed to the development of the theory of complex systems by discovering hidden patterns in disordered complex materials.

The chemistry award was announced on Wednesday. It was given to Benjamin List and David W. C. MacMillan for the discovery of a new tool for assembling molecules called organocatalysis.

Benjamin List, David Macmillan. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media
Benjamin List, David Macmillan. Ilustration: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media

It is a very precise tool that accelerates chemical reactions. The discovery had a major impact on pharmaceutical research and the development of new drugs, while also making chemistry more environmentally friendly.

The awards for physics and chemistry were therefore more environmentally friendly this year, which is especially relevant today in the light of global warming and environmental pollution.

Abdulrazak Gurnah. Ilustracija: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media
Abdulrazak Gurnah. Ilustration: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media

The literature prize was awarded to Abdulrazak Gurnah for his uncompromising and compassionate writing on the consequences of colonialism and on the fate of refugees in the gulf between cultures and continents. This is also very relevant today, at a time of the migrant crisis.

The awards are usually presented in Stockholm and Oslo on Alfred Nobel’s birthday on December 10th. Due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus, the winners will receive their prizes in their home country, just like last year.

Latest news

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to journalists Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia for their defense of freedom of expression, which is a condition for democracy and lasting peace, the Nobel Committee announced this morning.

The Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to David CardJoshua Angrist and Guido Imbens.

Points To Consider

  1. Where does Alfred Nobel come from?
  2. Why is it important to explore our climate?
  3. How old is the youngest Nobel Prize winner?

***

The original version of this article was published on October 10th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.

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