The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, by the Nobel committee of the Karolinska Institute. The two immunologists - from the U.S. and Japan, respectively - were awarded the Prize “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.”
American scientist Arthur Ashkin, French engineer Gérard Mourou and Canadian professor Donna Strickland have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in the field of laser physics.
Dr. Ashkin has been awarded the Prize “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems”.
Dr. Mourou and Dr. Strickland have been awarded “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”
The inventions being honoured this year have revolutionised laser physics. Extremely small objects and incredibly rapid processes are now being seen in a new light. Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications.
This year’s Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have been inspired by the power of evolution and used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve mankind’s chemical problems.
One half of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Frances H. Arnold. In 1993, she conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyse chemical reactions. Since then, she has refined the methods that are now routinely used to develop new catalysts. The uses of Frances Arnold’s enzymes include more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemical substances, such as pharmaceuticals, and the production of renewable fuels for a greener transport sector.
The other half of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is shared by George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter. In 1985, George Smith developed an elegant method known as phage display, where a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – can be used to evolve new proteins. Gregory Winter used phage display for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals. The first one based on this method, adalimumab, was approved in 2002 and is used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Since then, phage display has produced anti-bodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to Congolese gynaecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege and Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2018 was divided equally between William D. Nordhaus "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis" and Paul M. Romer "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis."
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