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Nobel Prize for DNA structure for sale Grant Jacobs Feb 26

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The family of Francis Crick are to sell his Nobel Prize Medal and diploma, won for his work on the structure of DNA.

(Source: wikimedia.org)

Crick’s 1962 Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine was shared with American James Watson and New Zealander* Maurice Wilkins, for their work on the structure of DNA. (More formally, “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”.)

Family members are reported at livescience as hoping that the medal and diploma will be made available for display to the public,

“It had been tucked away for so long,” said Kindra Crick, Francis Crick’s 36-year-old granddaughter, of the medal. “We really were interested in finding someone who could look after it, and possibly put it on display so it could inspire the next generation of scientists.”

An opening bid of $500,000 has been set.

What got my attention they are also considering to sell a letter Crick wrote to his then 12 year-old son explaining the DNA structure model work is also for sale.

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Medicine or Physiology Nobel Prize to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for stem cell research Grant Jacobs Oct 08

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This year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology has been awarded to John Gurdon (79) and Shinya  Yamanaka (50) for work that lead to the understanding that mature specialised cells could be ‘reprogrammed’ back towards a state that was not specialised to any one purpose, but open to become many kinds of cells.

Formally the citation is “for discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”.

This work has many potential areas of use including testing how bodies grow and develop, and disease treatment. Yamanaka, for example, aims to create a ‘bank’ of stem cells from foetal blood cells.

This pair had previously been jointly awarded the 2009 Lasker Prize for this line of research. There is a good explanation of their work with some illustrations showing a quick outline of what was done on the Lasker Prize website.

Those wanting a very brief and overly simplified ‘gloss’ on this may read on:

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Medicine Nobel for IVF Grant Jacobs Oct 05

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This week sees the announcement of the Nobel prizes. Today it was announced that Prof. Robert Edwards is the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the development of in vitro fertilisation.

(Source: nobelprize.org)

Prof. Robert Edward (Source: nobelprize.org)

There are over four million ‘IVF kids’, some who are now themselves parents. I imagine they, their parents and wider family are delighted with the news.

It’s very human sort of success, enabling others to bring a child into the world.

The Nobel Prize website, along with their press release and brief announcements, presents ‘Advanced information’ about each prize as a PDF file, which I encourage readers to pursue.

These articles bring something of the longer efforts that made up the award-winning work. Nobel Prizes rarely result from five minutes in the lab! If you read these you’ll better appreciate the amount of work behind the winning efforts, the close focus to one problem over a long period of time, and the chain of problems that needed to be resolved for the work to progress.


Other articles from Code for life:

Thoughts towards a human brain neural connection map

Choosing an algorithm – benchmarking bioinformatics

Autism – looking for parent-of-origin effects

Any Brits abroad here?

Anniversary day for Code for life

Pick the Nobel winners and win Grant Jacobs Sep 28

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Are you a hard-up Ph.D. student or post-doc looking for a chance to win a freebie? Or a staff member looking for a present for the kid on the cheap?

MedGadget are running an on-line competition: enter in the comments your predictions of who will win the Nobel prizes, being announced from next week, and your name goes in for an iPod. (An iPod Nano for each single category predicted correctly, and an 8Gb iPod Touch for predicting all three science prizes correctly.) Those outside the USA, Canada or the EU win cash.

If you don’t like entering this, but want to share your punts anyway, there’s always the comments below.

(H/T PZ Myers. If you know of any other competitions, let us know in the comments.)

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Grant Jacobs Oct 11

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Internationally there has been much fuss about Barack Obama being awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Before passing your judgement, though, it may help to remember that the award committee aren’t dumb and that it might be useful to first read what the Peace Prize is awarded for to try understand their thinking.

My reading of many reactions is that many people are thinking in terms of the aims of the science prizes, which are strictly for past achievement.

The aims for the Peace Prize, by contrast, are interpreted as including encouragement of efforts started that are on-going.

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