Nobel Prize for Medicine jointly awarded to William Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza - CNN
Good morning all,
In recent weeks we have considered the role of the circulatory and respiratory systems in collecting and delivering oxygen to our tissues, and just last week I sent you a long article about altitude-induced hypoxia and the physiological challenges that it stimulates. We've also discussed the kidney hormone EPO, and its role in stimulating the production of RBCs.
Fresh on the heels of those discussions and reading, this week's science news included the awarding of this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine, to a group of three researchers who study this very phenomenon, the physiological responses to oxygen. Their work is crucial to an understanding of how cells adapt to changing oxygen levels.
Nobel Prizes in science fields are awarded to researchers who have long, established careers and who have made discoveries that defined their fields. This year's winners are no exception - these scientists are well-established and highly respected. And, not surprisingly, they are still active. They also are likely to follow another tradition in that they most likely will use the award not to enrich themselves personally, but to support the work of their research groups. It's a great example of the selflessness that drives much of science: exploration and discovery for the greater good.
There are plenty of other news stories on these awards, including
Breakthroughs in science normally come after long, hard work, built from many small steps of progress - and informed by many failed experiments, a lot of trial-and-error, and requiring much patience. One prize winner (of years past) said that 'if I have seen further than others, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of those who came before me'. They say that 'no man is an island', and in science that is certainly true - modern science is a highly collaborative venture, and today's advances are built upon the progress of earlier investigators.
When you contribute to a project, no matter how small or insignificant your part may seem, it's important to remember that it adds to our collective knowledge and capability. Who knows? Future Nobel Prizes may depend on you!
Have a great weekend -