It’s Nobel Prize Season And Yoshinori Ohsumi Takes The First Nobel Prize For Physiology Or Medicine

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The Nobel prize is one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to any individual or group in their lifetime.

It is arguably the most anticipated week in the scientific calendar and although it sometimes brings about some controversies, it is mostly a period of celebration for great scientific breakthroughs.

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It is the legacy of the 19th-century industrialist Alfred Nobel who initially built an empire on weapons and explosives before establishing the Nobel prize in the various categories in his will to honor those whose research most benefited humanity.

Currently, each Nobel Prize is worth 8m Swedish krona or £718,000 and that’s not considering the great reputation boost that it offers its winners. The Nobel Prize can truly be described as life-changing.

Nobel Prize

The announcements of the various winners by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute commenced at 11:30 a.m. on Monday 3 October and the first category awarded was the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The prize was announced by Thomas Perlmann, Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and was carted home by Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.

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Last year, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to three researchers for discoveries that helped doctors fight malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites.



Yoshinori Ohsumi’s discoveries on autophagy, which won him the prize, centered around his discovery of a set of genes that control autophagy in baker’s yeast. Autophagy refers to the ability of cells to recycle their contents. He was able to show that the same mechanism he discovered in baker’s yeast also worked in humans.

Nobel Prize

On being awarded the 2016 prize, Yoshinori Ohsumi said;

“I was surprised. I was in my lab.”

Other categories of the Nobel prize will be awarded in the course of the week, even into next week. The schedule for the announcements is as follows;

  • Tuesday 4 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest – The Nobel Prize in Physics

The prize will be announced by Göran K. Hansson, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

  • Wednesday 5 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The prize will be announced by Göran K. Hansson, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

  • Friday 7 October, 11:00 a.m. – The Nobel Peace Prize

The prize will be announced by Kaci Kullmann Five, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

  • Monday 10 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest – The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel

The prize will be announced by Göran K. Hansson, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

According to tradition, the Swedish Academy will set the date for its announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature later and that particular prize will be announced by Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy.

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