Science Nobel Prize Winners – 2020

The Nobel Prize Award

The Nobel Prize is awarded every year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Academy and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The awards are presented to organisations and individuals who make extraordinary contributions in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Medicine or Physiology. The awards were established by 1895 will of Alfred Nobel which states that the awards should be overseen by the Nobel Foundation. Below are the science Nobel prize winners for the year 2020.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Charles M.Rice, Micheal Houghton, and Harvey J. Alter on the 5th of October, 2020 for the discovery Hepatitis C Virus. These three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for their contribution to the battle against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes liver cancer and cirrhosis in people globally.

Majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases have remained unexplained ever since the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses but their seminary discoveries of the Hepatitis C virus has helped revealed the cause of chronic hepatitis. Their discovery has made it possible for new medicines that have helped save millions of lives and blood tests.

The discovery of Hepatitis C by the Nobel Laureates is a big victory in the medical field and a great achievement in the ongoing battle against viral disease. Their discovery has made it possible to carry out highly sensitive blood tests for the virus, and it has also eliminated the post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the globe. This has helped to improve global health by some standard. As a result of their discovery, there’s been a timely development of antiviral drugs, and for the first time in history, the disease can be cured. This has helped raised hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

On the 7th of October, 2020, Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jenifer A. Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors; one of the gene technology’s sharpest tool. By using the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, researchers can change the DNA of plants, animals and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This is a revolutionary technology that will go on to make a great impact on life science. This discovery has contributed to new cancer therapies and it may help in the fight in curing inherited diseases.

Thereupon their discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in 2012, the tool has contributed to many important discoveries in basic research, and plant researchers have been able to develop plants that withstand drought, mould and pests. The tool has also been used in the Medical Department for developing new Cancer therapies, and most importantly, it has facilitated the dream to cure inherited diseases. As a result, the genetic scissors has taken the life sciences into a new era or age. It has also helped in bringing the greatest benefit to humankind in many ways.

Nobel Prize in Physics

The Nobel Prize committee announced on the 6th of October that the Nobel Prize for physics will be awarded to three scientists: Sir Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. This award was meticulously earned for their work on black hole formation and the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy.

The award is shared by the three individuals with Sir Penrose winning half of the prize for his seminal work in 1965 in which he used a series of mathematical arguments to prove that under very general conditions, collapsing matter would activate or trigger the formation of a black hole. By inventing new techniques and mathematical concepts, Penrose was able to develop this theory. The equations developed by Penrose have in 1965 have been used to study black hole ever since.

The remaining half of the prize was shared between astronomers Andrea Ghez -who is only the fourth woman to win a physics Nobel prize- and Reinhard Genzel. These two astronomers each led a team that discovered the existence of a supermassive black hole which is 4 million times more massive than the Sun, at the centre of our Milky Way.

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