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Author Topic: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...  (Read 2743 times)

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Borek

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And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« on: October 10, 2012, 12:26:37 AM »

Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors".
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curiouscat

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 02:24:43 AM »

Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors".

Funny (in a sad way) that I've no idea what great things they must  have done from the citation.  ;D
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yesway

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2012, 02:52:01 AM »

Bio-themed awards in the 21st century: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012.  ;D

 But one can't be mad, especially not this year. First of all, structural biology efforts of this sort can be a tour de force comparable to total synthesis of complex natural compounds. Secondly, GPCRs are relevant as drug targets and to biology in general. And GPCRs can be added to the variety of complex molecular machines, allowing further insight into the area. So all in all, I think it was a good choice.
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discodermolide

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2012, 06:28:08 AM »

These two  Noble (pun) gentlemen are medical doctors who used chemistry as a means to an end. I won't deny it's a good end. But are you telling me there has not been any pathfinding chemistry more deserving of this recognition?
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yesway

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 07:13:55 AM »

I'm sure there are plenty of "hardcore" chemists who would deserve the honour. I'm afraid I'm lacking the expertise to decide on relevance in these cases. It just occurs to me that structural biology seems to be the supreme discipline in biochemistry  nowadays - so in that niche area it was a good choice. But I agree that some other areas of chemistry have been underrepresented recently.
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cth

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 09:15:41 AM »

Nowadays, there are thousands of chemist researchers worldwide (university, private industries,...) publishing thousands of papers, communications, reviews, patents,... every year. One could think chemical research is very productive.

But it seems to me that chemists in the early 20th century were more productive than today. There were much less researchers with less money. And yet, they made huge contributions to the field.

I think many researchers nowadays focus on proving what they already know:
They've made a new compound once. And from there, they study it over and over and over again, modifying some parts of it to get new results and make new publications. But ultimately, what is really new and unexpected from all that, once past the original discovery?

Why would they do that? Because it's the way research works now:
* To get fundings, you need to prove that what you're proposing has good chances to work and will give results. So the easiest way to go is to propose research ideas that are in relation with what you've done before. Innovative ideas are harder to fund.
* In order to further your career as a researcher, you need to publish a lot. The best way is to keep working on the same thing, so you know the chemical system works and will give you some results to publish. Innovative ideas mean larger risk of failure, larger risk of not publishing.

I believe there is still a lot to discover in chemistry, the field is not dead. But the thing is: are we willing to take the risk to go forward?

Bio-themed awards in the 21st century: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012.  ;D
Most chemistry Nobel prizes of the 21st century have been made in the biomedical field because they are the one moving forward. I guess it's going to continue.
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Borek

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 10:06:48 PM »

But it seems to me that chemists in the early 20th century were more productive than today.

Perhaps there were much more unanswered questions and uncharted territories then. As of today we deal more with polishing the details than with the groundbreaking ideas.
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curiouscat

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Re: And the 2012 Nobel goes to...
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 11:26:08 PM »

But it seems to me that chemists in the early 20th century were more productive than today.

Perhaps there were much more unanswered questions and uncharted territories then. As of today we deal more with polishing the details than with the groundbreaking ideas.

Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns..
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