Chemistry Nobel Prize Goes to Frances Arnold, George Smith and Gregory Winter

Arnold, who is the fifth woman ever to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, received half of the 9 million kr ($1.4 million) award, while Smith and Winter split the remainder.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Arnold had transformed science by using the principles of evolution - genetic change and selection - and to evolve new types of proteins very fast.

According to the academy, the methods developed are now being internationally developed to promote a greener chemicals industry, produce new materials, manufacture sustainable biofuels, mitigate disease and save lives.

"Twenty-five years ago, [this technology] was considered the lunatic fringe", Arnold explained in a 2014 interview marking her induction to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

In becoming the first women Nobel physics laureate in 55 years, Strickland won acclaim from her peers, who were keen to point out the boundary-pushing work done by female scientists across the world.

Her research on enzymes - proteins that catalyze chemical reactions - laid the bedrock for the development of better industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Smith and Winter also managed to use evolution to the advantage of humankind by developing a technique called phage display.

These drugs - the first of which were approved in the early 2000s - are now routinely used to treat advanced cancers and autoimmune disorders and to counteract toxins. The genes are then inserted into bacteria, which then act as the manufacturing machines and produce randomly mutated enzymes. No literature prize will be awarded this year. The next Nobel, the Peace Prize, will be announced on Friday.

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"A standard prank in science, your friends take on a fake Swedish accent and call you up at 4:30 in the morning, this is the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, you won", said Dr. Smith. "First I was stunned, like somebody hit me over the head with something and then I started to wake up", she said. That's when she made the shift to what is known as directed evolution.

"That was certainly the case with my work".

Winter says he realized afterward there was a "moral imperative" to ensure "what was produced could be used for public benefit".

Sir Gregory Winter, another chemistry Nobel victor, is a member of the UK-Israel Science Council, which brings people from both countries together.

Nobel chemistry laureate George Smith, reached at his home in Columbia, Missouri, was quick to credit the work of others in his prize.

"Very few research breakthroughs are novel".

He built up a collection of phages, with billions of antibody varieties on their surface, and engineered them make them more effective.

James Allison of the USA and Tasuku Honjo of Japan jointly won the 2018Nobel Prize in Medicine on October 1, for developing a pioneering therapeutic approach for cancer treatment. On Monday, James Allison and Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 medicine Nobel for their work on harnessing the immune system to combat cancer, and on Tuesday the physics prize was shared between Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their work on laser physics.


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