News / Science & Technology

American, 2 Japanese Scientists Share Chemistry Nobel

Akira Suzuki, emeritus professor of Hokkaido University, smiles as he leaves his home in Ebetsu for the university in Sapporo in Hokkaido, northern Japan, to hold a press conference, 6 Oct 2010
Akira Suzuki, emeritus professor of Hokkaido University, smiles as he leaves his home in Ebetsu for the university in Sapporo in Hokkaido, northern Japan, to hold a press conference, 6 Oct 2010
Kevin Billinghurst

An American and two Japanese scientists have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a process called "palladium-catalyzed cross coupling" that has potential uses ranging from helping kill cancer cells to providing ultra-slim computer screens.

The Nobel chemistry prize is shared this year by American Richard Heck of the University of Delaware, Japanese-born Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University in Indiana, and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

The three are honored for their work in linking carbon atoms together to create a complex molecule upon which new drugs can be tested.

The method is in use worldwide in electronics manufacturing, and in commercial production of pharmaceuticals.

Christina Moberg, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, explains. "What is particularly interesting is pharmaceuticals against cancer, where you need poisonous compounds because you need to kill the cancer cells," he said. "Nature is very good at making poisonous compounds, and many of them are found in the sea. But they are difficult to find and they are formed in very, very small amounts, so you need to make them in the laboratory to get enough, first for testing and then for treatment of the cancers."

"You also need to be able to vary the structure, because very often patients become immune to the pharmaceutical, and then you need to modify the structure. Nature doesn't do that, but in the lab you can do it," he added.

Reached by an early-morning phone call to his home in Indiana, Ei-ichi Negishi, now 75 years old, said that the Nobel Prize has been a cherished aspiration since he came to study in the United States more than 50 years ago.

"As a young student I realized that, to be of service to society, I needed to really study this field of chemistry, to build up my solid foundation. For me, who grew up in Japan, there was one choice. That was for me to first of all learn English, and then come to this country and revamp my foundation in science from scratch. This country permitted me to do that. A Nobel Prize became a dream of mine when I was in my twenties," said Negishi.

Negichi, Heck and Suzuki will share the $1.3 million cash award. All  three have accepted an invitation to receive their gold medals in a formal ceremony in the Swedish capital on December 10.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More