Every year, the world turns its attention to Stockholm as The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announces the latest Nobel Prize award winners. For more than 100 years, the award has honored those whose achievements have led to unprecedented advances and discoveries in the fields of chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, physics, economics, and peace. Their contributions are inspiring and deserve the warmest congratulations.
Wiley is proud to have published six of these laureates in various medical, physiology, chemistry and economics journals and books.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Recognized "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy," Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi has brought new understanding to a concept first observed in the 1960s. Autophagy, Greek for "self-eating," is the cell’s biological recycling system. In 1988, Ohsumi began using baker’s yeast to study the process further, ultimately showing its role in human physiology. Ohsumi told Tokyo reporters that he decided to study the cell’s waste disposal system because he wanted to focus on something different than other scientists of his time. The decision was a good one: His findings have shown that autophagy is necessary to our cells’ survival, as it can help fight infection. The hope is that Ohsumi’s discoveries can help further our understanding of the process to fight diseases including cancer and dementia.
Ohsumi is a professor at the Institute of Innovative Research at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In addition to being named a Nobel Prize Laureate, Ohsumi also won the 2016 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Science for his work on autophagy. He has authored three book chapters in Wiley publications, and has published over 40 articles in 11 Wiley journals, including The EMBO Journal, FEBS Letters, Acta Crystallographica Section F, Genes to Cells and the Journal of Electron Microscopy Technique.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Awarded jointly to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines," the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureates are credited with taking molecular systems to a whole new level.
In 1983, Sauvage successfully linked molecules together to form a chain – or a catenane. Building on the idea of molecular machines, Stoddart demonstrated in 1991 that molecular rings could move along a molecular axle. Then, by 1999, Feringa had developed the very first molecular motor. All three laureates have shown that when energy is added, controlled movement between molecular systems is possible. Such molecular machines could be used a multitude of ways, including to store energy.
“It’s early days, of course,” Feringa told the Nobel committee. “But once you’re able to control movement, you have a motor, you can think of all kinds of functions.”
All three winners have published in or served on the boards of Wiley publications. Sauvage is Professor Emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and Director of Research emeritus at the National Center for Scientific Research, France. He edited Perspectives in Supramolecular Chemistry: Transition Metals in Supramolecular Chemistry, Volume 5; co-edited From Non-Covalent Assemblies to Molecular Machines, to which he, Stoddart and Feringa contributed; and edited Molecular Catenanes, Rotaxanes and Knots, to which he and Stoddart contributed.
Scottish-born, Sir Stoddart is Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, USA. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Chemistry – A European Journal, ChemPlusChem, Chinese Journal of Chemistry and Macromlecular Rapid Communications. He was a member of the international advisory board of Angewandte Chemie (1995-2013), and he co-edited Stimulating Concepts in Chemistry, Crown Ethers and Analogs and The Nature of the Mechanical Bond.
Feringa is a professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is a member of the editorial boards of Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis, ChemPhotoChem and Israel Journal of Chemistry. He also co-edited Molecular Switches, to which he, Stoddart and Sauvage all contributed.
Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016
Harvard’s Oliver Hart and MIT’s Bengt Holmström have been recognized "for their contributions to contract theory." Contract theory is a framework for analyzing the complications and details that exist in contractual agreements. Holmström introduced the "informativeness principle," which links the performance of an "agent" with their pay, weighing risk against incentives. Today, this is used in the context of rewarding employees with pay but also with opportunities for promotion. Hart created a new branch of contract theory dealing with control rights in contractual agreements, impacting not only economics but also the fields of political science and law.
In a Harvard Gazette article, Hart says of the prize, "It is recognition that your work is being influential. When you get that call, you realize you’ve managed to convince some people of the importance of your work."
Born in London, Hart is the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University, teaching in the areas of contract theory, the theory of the firm, corporate finance, law and economics. His work has appeared in the Wiley journals Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Accounting Research, The Economic Journal and Economica.
The Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Holmström can now add the prize to his other accolades, which include the Banque de France-TSE Senior Prize in Monetary Economics and Finance, the Stephen A. Ross Prize in Financial Economics and the Distinguished CES Fellow award from CESifo Munich. Holmström’s work has been featured in the following Wiley publications: The Journal of Finance, Journal Of Economics & Management Strategy and The Journal Of Applied Corporate Finance.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature
For the first time, the laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature is a singer-songwriter. Honoring his 50+ year career and his evocative pieces that have touched on events from the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights Movement, the Academy has awarded Bob Dylan the Prize "for having created new poetic expression within the great American song tradition." Dylan is the first American to win the prize for literature in over 20 years – the last being Toni Morrison in 1993. This is an exciting time in the history of the Nobel Prize, and is significant to many in its acknowledgement of the art of lyricism.
While Wiley hasn’t published Bob Dylan himself, we’ve seen several works about the legend, including the book Bob Dylan: The Never Ending Star by Lee Marshall, and articles published in The Journal of Popular Culture, The Journal of American Culture and Journal of Popular Music Studies.
Congratulations once again to all the winners of this year’s Nobel Prizes.
Image credit: Getty Images
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