BunsenBwog: Nobel Prize Edition

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"I'd like to thank the academy"

When they’re not jamming or answering our inane questions, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science…but first, we bring you some exciting news from Stockholm. Headlines were compiled by our strictly-hands-off correspondent Zach Kagan.

The Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences recently announced the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize awards.

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics went to astrophysicists Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riessfor for discovering that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Dan Shechtman for his discovery of quasicrystals for which he was initially mocked by his peers.
  • The Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann for discovering the activation mechanism behind innate immunity and to the late Ralph M. Steinman for his discovery of the dendritic cell.

Just because no prizes were awarded to Columbia faculty doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard. Columbia does its science from scratch, no hand holding involved. Here are some highlights from the week:

A team of Columbia scientists has successfully created the world’s first embryonic stem cell, which represents a huge step towards better matching implanted tissue with an individual’s genome. It doesn’t stop there! First embryonic stem cells, then a discovery of flu-fighting immune cells in the lungs, and finally a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. Can you say Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2038?

According to a new study from the business school, people who exhibit anti-social and “Machiavellian” behavior tend to make more utilitarian moral choices. The authors claim that their research reveals a fundamental flaw in they way we examine moral dilemmas, but let’s be honest: someone has to do John Stewart Mill’s dirty work.

Oversized bank note via Wikimedia Commons

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