Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Nobel Year For Women

From Associated Press:
A record five women were among the 13 people awarded Nobel Prizes on Thursday, including a writer who depicted life behind the Iron Curtain and two American researchers who showed how chromosomes protect themselves from degrading.

The prizes were created in Alfred Nobel's 1895 will, which stipulated that they be granted to those who "have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." They were first awarded in 1901.

Only 40 women have won the prestigious awards, including Marie Curie who was given the 1903 physics prize and the chemistry prize eight years later. In all, 802 individuals and 20 organizations have received Nobel Prizes over the years.

* Romanian-born author Herta Mueller accepted the Nobel literature award for her critical depiction of life behind the Iron Curtain — work drawn largely from her personal experiences.

* Elinor Ostrom, 76, made history by being the first woman to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, sharing it with fellow American Oliver Williamson for their work in economic governance.

* Americans Elizabeth H. Blackburn, 61, and Carol W. Greider, 48, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with countryman Jack W. Szostak for their work in solving the mystery of how chromosomes protect themselves from degrading when cells divide.

* The chemistry award was shared by 70-year-old Ada Yonath of Israel and Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz for their atom-by-atom description of ribosomes, the protein-making machinery within cells. Their research is being used to develop new antibiotics.

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