Science & Tech Notes: October 7, 2020

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on CRISPR, a method of genome editing.
  • A genome is the full set of genetic “instructions” that determine how an organism will develop. Using CRISPR, researchers can cut up DNA in an organism’s genome and edit its sequence.

Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

  • Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez are the recipients Nobel Prize in Physics 2020.
  • One-half of the prize has been awarded to Penrose of the United Kingdom “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the General Theory of Relativity”.
  • The other half has been jointly warded to Genzel and Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy”.
  • Penrose, a professor at the University of Oxford, used ingenious mathematical methods in his proof that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
  • Black holes usually capture everything that enters them; Light cannot escape once it has entered them.
  • In January 1965, Penrose proved that black holes really can form and described them in detail.
  • Genzel and Ghez discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy.

Nobel Prize In Medicine 2020

  • The Nobel Prize 2020 in Physiology / Medicine was awarded to three scientists jointly — Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M Rice — for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
  • The novel virus caused several deaths in the 1960s and 1970s — but remained unknown till its discovery in the late 1980s.
  • Hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and causes liver diseases
  • According to the World Health Organization, Hepatitis C virus causes 400,000 deaths globally every year.
  • Hepatitis A virus, which is transmitted by polluted water or food, generally has a long-term impact on the patient. In the 1960s, American physician Baruch Blumberg discovered Hepatitis B virus that was transmitted through blood and bodily fluids and caused much severe forms of the disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. He was awarded a Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1976.
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