It’s that time of year again – when the annual Nobel Prize winners are announced.
Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the honors in 1895, with the first prizes awarded in 1901.
The 2017 Nobel Prize science awards were announced on Monday, October 2nd through Wednesday, October 4th.
First, the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to American scientists Jeffrey Hall, the University of Maine in Orono, Maine, to Michael Rosbash, Brandeis University in Waltham Massachusetts, and Michael Young, Rockefeller University in New York.
The scientists won for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm.
All living creatures have a built-in biological clock, which over a roughly 24-hour cycle, regulates a variety of physiological processes.
In humans, it helps time and control many of our bodily functions such as eating, sleeping and body temperature.
Next, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.
One half of the prize was given to Rayner Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration. Weiss also had an important role in developing the technology used to detect the gravitational waves.
Sharing the other half of the award are Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, both from the California Institute of Technology and the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration.
The trio of Physicists was awarded the Nobel Physics Prize “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves“.
In February 2016, scientists, addressing a press conference in Washington, DC, rocked the science community when they announced the first detection of gravitational waves.
Described as ripples in the fabric of spacetime, the existence of gravitational waves was predicted over 100 years ago by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.
The final science award, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was also awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The new Nobel Laureates in Chemistry are Jacques Dubochet, the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Joachim Frank, Columbia University in New York, and Richard Henderson, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
The trio of scientists won the prestigious prize for their work in developing cryo-electron microscopy.
This innovative technology allows researchers to freeze biomolecules in mid-movement and view their functioning processes as never before.
It’s thought that this technology will provide scientists with a better understanding of life’s chemistry and help them develop new, more effective pharmaceuticals.
Along with a Nobel Prize medal and diploma, winners in each category will receive or share 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony to be held in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10th (the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death).