Showing posts with label Nobel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nobel. Show all posts

October 8, 2013

Nobel Peace Price is Announced

James Rothman and Randy Schekman, of the US,  and German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof  are projected on a screen, in Stockholm, Sweden after they were announced as the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine, Oct. 7, 2013.

James Rothman and Randy Schekman, of the US, and German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof are projected on a screen, in Stockholm, Sweden after they were announced as the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine, Oct. 7, 2013. 
Three researchers studying how cells transport chemicals within and between cells have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology, Medicine

Awarded to three scientists for solving the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system

  • James Rothman: Professor and Chairman in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University
  • Randy Schekman: Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley
  • Thomas Sudhof: Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University
  • by: Steve Baragona
To explain what the researchers discovered, Harvard University cell biologist Tom Kirchhausen says it helps to think of each cell in the body as a tiny city.

“You have people that are moving from one place to the other to do whatever function they do,” he said. “You move from place to place in carriers or containers,” like buses, trucks or trains, he says.

In this analogy, the people are the proteins, hormones and other chemicals that do the work and carry messages in our bodies.

Insulin, produced in the pancreas but used throughout the body, is one example. Or neurotransmitters that carry brain signals from one neuron to another.

The transport system - the cell’s tiny buses, trucks or trains - has to get them from one part of the cell to another, or to the outside of the cell. If the system breaks down, the results are diseases like diabetes or neurodegenerative disorders.

Yeast to people

The process is so fundamental to life that evolution has not changed it much from yeast to people.

Randy Schekman at the University of California at Berkeley discovered in yeast the genetic blueprints for the proteins that make up the cellular delivery system.

Later, says neuroscientist Erik Jorgensen at the University of Utah, researchers found out “that the proteins involved in this process that allow us to think, that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another, are precisely the same ones that were found in yeast.”

But Schekman’s work was just a piece of the puzzle. James Rothman at Yale University discovered how each little cellular bus delivers its passengers to the right station.

“From Schekman’s work we had a list of the players,” Jorgensen said. “What Rothman showed us was who was interacting with whom.”

And the third prize winner, Thomas Südhof, discovered how in nerve cells those little buses release their passengers quickly and precisely in response to a signal.

Research at risk

At a press conference, Rothman noted that his good mood was due to his neurons secreting endorphins, one class of neurotransmitters delivered through the mechanism he and his colleagues had discovered.

Rothman said he was lucky to get his start at a time when a young scientist could take risks to pursue an idea.

“I’d like to think that that kind of support existed today, but I think there’s less of it," he said. "And it’s actually becoming a pressing national issue, if not an international issue.”

He said U.S. funding for scientific research has declined in recent years, threatening American leadership in science and technology.

October 6, 2013

Nobel Peace Prize Would it Sink in Russian Mud? or Shine with a Deserving Choice

Vladimir Putin: Revoke  his Russian Anti 'Gay' Law & free Pussy Riot via the British government

Will this year’s Nobel laureate be deserving enough to restore credibility to the controversial peace award, asks Dani Garavelli
Later this week, in a small room in the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, a silver-haired man will step up to a wooden lectern and announce this year’s winner of the world’s most famous peace prize.
As discussions on the 259 nominations received by the five-strong committee are undertaken in great secrecy and one of the defining characteristics of the prize is its unpredictability, it is hard to second-guess the name of the individual or organisation which will trip from chairman Thorbjorn Jagland’s tongue (though Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taleban and has campaigned to secure the rights of Pakistani girls to an education and Denis Mukwege, a doctor who treats women gang-raped by rebel forces in the Congo have both been tipped for the honour).
Though the award has recognised the achievements of some of the great peace-makers and humanitarians of history – Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi for example – it has frequently proved contentious, particularly when it was given to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho at the height of the Vietnam War in 1973, prompting two committee members to resign. But, after last year’s decision to recognise the achievements of the European Union in fostering integration and stability to the region – even as its currency went into freefall and the entire project appeared to be on the brink of implosion – its credibility now hangs in the balance.
While those who support the award say it continues to provide an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution made by activists such as Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and to provide a boost to ongoing peace processes, its critics insist its honouring of the EU, and its decision, three years earlier, to give the award to the newly-elected Barack Obama, have devalued it to such as extent as to render it meaningless. A further dent to its image came last week, when it was revealed president Vladimir Putin had been nominated for this year’s award for “his role in preventing an air strike in Syria”, despite his violent campaigns against Chechnyan separatists and his introduction of a “gay propaganda” ban which is being used to justify the persecution of homosexuals.
Of course, there is no shortage of people carrying out humanitarian work. But even where the contribution being made to the betterment of the society is irrefutable, the committee has been criticised for interpreting the phrase “champions of peace” too broadly. Does campaigning on climate change or food security or social and health issues foster harmony between nations or contribute to the reduction or abolition of armies – the achievements the prize was set up to recognise?
In his book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted, lawyer and author Fredrik Heffermehl accuses the committee, which is appointed by the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) and comprised of prominent political figures, of ignoring the stipulations of Alfred Nobel’s will and making the award to suit its own agenda. Heffermehl is particularly scathing about the EU award which he says made a mockery of Nobel’s ideals. “The European leaders went to Oslo on the Monday to receive the prize and then, as few days later they travelled to Brussels to adopt a treaty on close military co-operation and making the union’s military forces more efficient,” he says. So can this year’s decision do anything to redeem the prize in the eyes of its critics?
The Nobel Peace Prize has been embroiled in sporadic controversy almost since it was first awarded in 1901, with some of its recipients being accused of being warmongerers, notwithstanding their role in whatever peace process they were involved in at the time. Some might argue that this contradiction was enshrined in Nobel himself. He was after all the inventor of dynamite and ballisite, the precursor to military grade explosives, and was driven, it is said, to set up his prize by a desire to produce a worthy legacy after a newspaper ran a premature obituary on him under the headline, “The Merchant of Death has died”.
As much of an inspiration as the obituary was his friendship with Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner, who opposed the popular maxim “If you want peace, prepare for war” and was appalled by the proliferation of arms. While all other Nobel awards are given out in Sweden, it was decided the peace prize should be handed out in Norway. This was because, back then, though separate sovereign states, Norway and Sweden shared the same king and foreign policy. With foreign policy decided in Sweden, Norway was seen as less likely to be influenced by diplomatic concerns. However, by the time the committee made its first contentious award – to US president Thoedore Roosevelt in 1906 – the two countries had undergone an amicable separation. Roosevelt, whose approach to foreign policy was “to speak softly and carry a big stick” was the first statesman to be honoured and some believed the award was being used to further Norway’s political interests. Many were also concerned about Roosevelt’s wider reputation and his imperialist and expansionist policies.
Later, the award was also given to opposing leaders in ongoing conflicts – Kissinger and Le Duc Tho (who refused his) in 1973; Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat in 1978; and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.
“The idea [with Kissinger and Doc Tho] was to focus on the fact that war had been terminated and there was a chance of building peace, but it was certainly controversial,” says Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. “What you see on some occasions, and I think they are rarely successful, is an attempt by the committee to use the prize to recognise something which is actually still in process – to give it an extra boost – and that can be quite tricky.
“You see that with Obama getting the prize in relation to what appeared to be an attempt to open up relations with the Middle East. I think most people would be querying whether that is the best way to proceed because things are so unpredictable in the political field.”
Other awards have been controversial because – rather than fostering good relations between countries – they have involved the internal affairs of one nation. The first notable example of this was when German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who had written articles exposing the Nazi regime’s continued breach of the Treaty of Versailles, was nominated in 1935. The committee members decided against giving him the prize as they did not want it to been seen a symbol against fascism. The following year, they changed their minds, although by this time Von Ossietzky was in a concentration camp. Since then, many awards have been given to recognise work to improve political conditions within a particular country, sometimes at the expense of diplomatic relations – when Liu won, China and 18 other countries threatened to boycott the ceremony.
The secrecy surrounding the prize means this year’s shortlist has not been published, but some of the nominations have leaked out. They include human trafficking activist Susana Trimarco, peace studies scholar Betty Reardon, Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey, the Guatemalan attorney in charge of prosecuting former president Rios Montt for crimes against humanity, and Chelsea Manning, born Bradley Manning, a US soldier convicted of treason for leaking classified documents to ­WikiLeaks.
Heffermehl has identified nominees he says would fit Nobel’s criteria, including professor of international law Richard Falk, disarmament advocate David Kreiger and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Norwegian ambassador Gunnar Garbo. He says if the committee continues to ignore Nobel’s wishes, the committee should be reconstituted.
But Rogers believes the prize is still playing a valuable role in promoting peace. “Even the EU one is interesting because it was a recognition of the fact that the people behind the European project 60 years ago saw it as a means of preventing a third European civil war. Whatever you think of the EU, that element of it has been pretty successful.”
The winner will receive eight million Swedish krona (about £777,000) which can be sunk in peace-advancing or humanitarian projects. Whoever wins, there are likely to be a few dissenting voices. Peace, like war, is complicated and those who take an active role in promoting it are likely to accrue enemies. The question is whether the committee’s choice will be popular enough to restore its credibility. Rogers is optimistic. “There’s maybe one year in five where the prize attracts controversy, but in the great majority of occasions it is given to people or groups who legitimately deserve it and should be held up as examples,” he says. «
Twitter: @DaniGaravelli1

October 3, 2013

Putin Recommended by Russian Groups for Nobel Peace Price

Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian leader is been recommended to the Awards Committee for the Nobel Peace Price. 
Iam sure that if he won he would share it with the Statue of Lenin and that way it would be more Nationalistic and it would make as much sense. 

Citing his role in preventing a US military strike against Syria, the International Academy for Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World has nominated Russian president Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Price, Pink News reports
The recommendation of the Russian organization, which is reportedly on a list of those approved to make such nominations, reads in part: “Being the leader of one of the leading nations of the world, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin makes efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity not only on the territory of his own country but also actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet.”
In the leadup to the Sochi Winter Games next year, Putin signed off on a number of anti-gay laws, including a nationwide measure banning so-called "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors and one that bans foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children.
In the wake of indications that athletes are willing to use the forum of athletic competitions to take a stand against the anti-gay laws, Putin also issued a decree that prohibits “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” that are not part of the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics, from Jan 7 to March 21.
Both American middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds and Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro leveraged the spotlighton the World Athletics Championships in Russia to take a stand against the crackdown on LGBT people.
The International Olympic Committee has also come under fire for accepting Russian authorities' assurances that there'll be no discrimination at the 2014 Games, and for adopting a hands-off aproach in the face of the host country's enactment and defense of anti-gay legislation.
Putin, along with a number of other political leaders, continues to insist there's no discrimination against LGBT Russians.
The author of St Petersburg's anti-gay gag law, Vitaly Milonov, who harassed a number of guests attending a queer festival in the city, also dismissed a reporter's questions about violence LGBT Russians face, saying it's "fake information" and "not true," and claimed that it's actually gay people who perpetrate violence against straight people.
Sergei Naryshkin, chairman of the State Duma, also told a meeting of the Council of Europes' parliamentary assembly that his country's anti-gay propaganda law will not lead to discrimination, saying there aren't "concrete examples" of that.
Another measure, proposed by State Duma deputy Alexei Zhuravlev, would deprive LGBT Russians of their parental rights if approved. That measure is reportedly scheduled for consideration in February, Gay Star News says.
Adam Gonzalez with sourcing of

Nobel Peace Prize Committee is Been Changed

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