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And the award goes to...

  • Published at 12:10 am October 14th, 2016
And the award goes to...
Here's a list of the Nobel Prize winners 2016, which will be updated each day as new awards are announced.

Medicine or Physiology

For shedding light on the weird cellular phenomenon of 'self-eating,' Yoshinori Ohsumi, Japan-born scientist, has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It is a cellular process called autophagy, or 'self-eating,' in which cells take unneeded or damaged material, including entire organelles, and transport them to a recycling compartment of sorts — in yeast cells, this compartment is called the lisosome, while vacuoles serve a similar purpose in human cells. Ohsumi figured out a way to observe the inner workings of yeast cells and reveal autophagy inside them. He went even further to identify the genes involved in yeast autophagy and to show that similar self-eating mechanisms occur inside human cells. His discoveries in the 1990s led to a new understanding of how the cell recycles its contents, opening up a window into the importance of autophagy to several physiological processes and even to understandinging certain diseases. Mutations in autophagy have been linked to diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease. By culturing mutated yeast that lacked enzymes used for degradation in vacuole, while simultaneously starving the cells to trigger autophagy, Ohsumi was able to observe vacuoles filled with small vesicles that hadn't been degraded. He proved that autophagy occurs in yeast cells and went on to identify the genes involved in the process. Ohsumi will receive this year's Nobel Prize amount of 8 million Swedish krona (about $937,000).


The Nobel PriDavid J Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane, J Michael Kosterlitz in Physicsze in physics went to three physicists who studied matter at the smallest scales and the coldest temperatures, which could lead to new materials and insights into phenomena such as superconductivity. David J Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane, and J Michael Kosterlitz, were jointly awarded this year's Nobel Prize for 'theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.' (Topology refers to a branch of mathematics that describes properties that change step-wise, according to the Nobel Foundation.) These theoretical discoveries revealed the possibility of a bizarre world where matter can take on different, and strange, states. Using advanced mathematics, the trio examined weird states of matter, such as superfluids, or substances that behave like liquids but have zero resistance to flow. In superfluids, there is no friction impeding the liquid's flow, so its particles act as one super particle. Other exotic states of matter include thin magnetic films and superconductors. Some examples of the odd behaviour of these states of matter include: superfluid vortexes that continue to spin without slowing down, forever, and when electrical current flows, with no resistance, through a superconductor. Their discoveries could lead to new materials, though that is still in the future.

Image 2Chemistry

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J Fraser Stoddart, and Bernard L Feringa were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for the design and synthesis of molecular machines. In other words, this trio developed the world's smallest machines by linking together molecules into a unit that, when energy is added, could do some kind of work. These machines, a thousand times thinner than a strand of hair, included a tiny lift, mini motors, and artificial muscles, taking chemistry to a new dimension. These molecular machines will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems." The three scientists will split the Nobel Prize amount of 8 million Swedish krona (about $937,000).

Peace Prize

Colombian PrImage 3esident Juan Manuel Santos has won the Nobel Peace Prize, for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to 6 million people. President Santos has helped to negotiate a peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. He ensured that Colombians could voice their opinion about the peace accord in a referendum. Even so, because of the accord, a ceasefire went into effect at the end of August. The accord is contingent on a referendum that will be held this month. But due of the lack of wholehearted support among Colombians, the peace process could stall and civil war could erupt again, according to the Nobel Foundation. The award was given as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.

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Economic Sciences

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016, was awarded jointly to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström , for their contributions to contract theory. Contracts are essential to the functioning of modern societies. Oliver Hart’s and Bengt Holmström’s research sheds light on how contracts help us deal with conflicting interests. Contracts help us to be cooperative and trusting when we may otherwise be disobliging and distrusting. Thanks to the work of Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, we now have the tools to analyse not only contracts’ financial terms, but also the contractual allocation of control rights, property rights, and decision rights between parties. The contributions by the laureates have helped us understand many of the contracts we observe in real life. They have also given us new ways of thinking about how contracts should be designed, both in private markets and in the realm of public policy.


The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, has not been awarded at the time this piece was written. The winner was announced on Thursday, October 13.