The Nobel Prize
In 1895, Sir Alfred Nobel dictated in his will that his remaining property be used entirely to award prizes to those “who, during the preceding year, had accorded the greatest benefit to mankind”. Although the Nobel Prize contributed to the emergence of the concept of honouring and rewarding intellectual or professional achievements, the reason behind Nobel’s decision to donate the majority of his fortune posthumously to the founding of the Nobel Prize is believed to be his desire to leave a better legacy behind. Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. Nobel’s will was purely to serve the good of mankind without any discrimination, “It is my express wish that when awards are given, no consideration is given to nationality, but that the award be given to the best person, whether Scandinavian or not,” he wrote.
Lebanese-Armenian scientist wins the Nobel Prize in Medicine
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch. Ardem Patapoutian, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1967, fled to the U.S after Lebanon’s civil war when he was 18. Dr. Patapoutian attended the American University of Beirut for a year before emigrating to the United States in 1986. Then, he received a B.S.degree in cell and developmental biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1990 and a Ph.D. degree in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1996. Currently, Dr. Patapoutian is a molecular biologist and neuroscientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, his research focuses on identifying and characterizing ion channels and other sensors that translate mechanical stimuli to chemical signals, these sensors are the basis of how we sense touch, pain, sound, and blood flow. Dr. Patapoutian was attracted to studying the sense of touch and pain because those systems remained so mysterious, “When you find a field that’s not well understood, it’s a great opportunity to dig in’’, he said.
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