Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Nobels in Physics and Chemistry

The contests for this year's Nobel for medicine, physics and chemistry are over. New York Times reports on the physics Prize:

A scientist who worked out a theory describing the behavior of light using quantum mechanics and two scientists who used that knowledge to develop a powerful laser technique for identifying atoms and molecules were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics yesterday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced.

Half of the prize, and half of the $1.3 million in prize money, go to Roy J. Glauber, 80, a professor of physics at Harvard, for calculations that laid the foundation for quantum optics.

John L. Hall, 71, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder and at the University of Colorado, and Theodor W. Hänsch, 63, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and a physics professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, share the other half of the prize, for later work that uses ultrashort laser pulses to make precise measurements.

Inside Higher Ed, in a "breaking news" story states, "the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded Wednesday morning to Yves Chauvin of the Institut Français du Pétrole, Robert H. Grubbs of the California Institute of Technology, and Richard R. Schrock of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The scholars were honored for their work on the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis."

I will post a link to a detailed story from NYTimes after it appears. As of now, it hasn't appeared. The piece by Kenneth Chang starts with a wonderful paragraph that I am sure everyone (including scientists working in that area) would love:

Three scientists share this year's Nobel Prize Chemistry for developing a chemical reaction that swaps out pieces of molecules in a swing-your-partner-around square dance manner, it was announced today.

The chemical reaction, developed over the last 35 years, enables a more efficient and more environmentally friendly way to manufacture of plastics, drugs and other materials.

The winners are Yves Chauvin, 74, who retired a decade ago from the French Petroleum Institute in Rueil-Malmaison, France; Robert H. Grubbs, 63, a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology; and Richard R. Schrock, 60, a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Each will share one-third of the $1.3 million prize money that accompanies the award bestowed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Congratulations to the winners!