Field of Science

Chemistry Nobel for Biologist

So there we are; Roger Kornberg following in line behind his father, has won the Nobel for chemistry. This prize also seems to have been a quickie; Kornberg's pivotal papers seem to have been published after 2000. I am sure Kornberg deserved it, but like Paul, who stayed up all night looking at the announcements, I too don't feel really excited about it. I wouldn't have predicted this as I am not so familiar with molecular biologists, but I was surprised to see that absolutely no blog I read had this name in a post or in the comments. No problem of course with molecular biologists getting the chemistry prize. In a way, it's a triumph for chemistry because it shows the vast scope and purview of the science. Maybe the committee decided to balance the 'pure' chemistry that was honoured last year with something more interdisciplinary. But it's always more exciting to see the prize awarded to someone whose work you are familiar with and who is more from your general field, as happened last year.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking as a biophysical chemist (-ry grad student), I was pleasantly surprised by the Kornberg announcement this morning. I figured he might be a somewhat more likely prospect down the road, but like with this year's Medicine prize, they went with someone whose work was a bit more recent. Just to counter the prevailing trends in the chemistry blogosphere, I had heard of Roger Kornberg from quite a while ago - he did some amazing work with Aaron Klug (another chemistry Nobel Laureate for work done in structural biology) a long while back on histones, and then had moved onto his work on transcription.

    I think if we, as chemists, want to keep using the "central science" moniker, we'll have to get used to the fact that sometimes it will blend into the other sciences.


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