Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Prizes and Awards

Prizes and Awards

Nobel Prizes Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo (China)

  • Chinese literary critic, writer, professor, and human rights activist.

  • He was sentenced to eleven years'imprisonment on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power in 2009.

  • He is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China.

  • He is the fourth person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany's Carl von Ossietzky (1935), the Soviet Union's Andrei Sakharov (1975), and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).

  • Liu is also the second person first being Ossietzky to be denied the right to have a representative collect the Nobel prize for him.

  • The peace prize was placed on an empty chair in Oslo's city hall in a symbolic act to mark its award to Liu Xiaobo.

  • I have no enemies: My final Statement was an essay written by Liu Xiaobo intended to be read at his trial in December 2009 but never heard. It became the laureate's speech delivered by Norwegian actor Liv Ullmann at the award ceremony.

  • China termed it a western interference in its sovereignty and requested many countries not to attend the ceremony.

  • He is one of the authors of Charter '8, a manifesto initially signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists.

Physics

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov (University of Manchester, UK) for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene

Geim and Novoselov extracted the graphene from a piece of graphite such as is found in ordinary pencils. Using regular adhesive tape they managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom.

This at a time when many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable.

Chemistry

Richard F. Heck

University of Delaware.

Newark, DE, USA.

Ei-ichi Negishi

Purdue University, West

Lafayette, IN, USA and for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis.

This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals, for example carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself.

Carbon-based (organic) chemistry is the basis of life and is responsible for numerous fascinating natural phenomena: Colour in flowers, snake poison and bacteria killing substances such as penicillin. Organic chemistry has allowed man to build on nature's chemistry; making use of carbon's ability to provide a stable skeleton for functional molecules. This has given mankind new medicines and revolutionary materials such as plastics.

Akira Suzuki

Hokkaido University.

Sapporo, Japan

In order to create these complex chemicals, chemists need to be able to join carbon atoms together. However, carbon is stable and carbon atoms do not easily react with one another. The first methods used by chemists to bind carbon atoms together were therefore based upon various techniques for rendering carbon more reactive. Such methods worked when creating simple molecules, but when synthesizing more complex molecules chemists ended up with too many unwanted by-products in their test tubes.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling solved that problem and provided chemists with a more precise and efficient tool to work with. In the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, whereupon their proximity to one another kick-starts the chemical reaction.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling is used in research worldwide, as well as in the commercial production of for example pharmaceuticals and molecules used in the electronics industry.

Physiology or Medicine

Robert G. Edwards (UK) for the development of in vitro fertilization

His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10% of all couples worldwide.

In 1977, Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards successfully carried out a pioneering conception which resulted in the birth of the world's first baby to be conceived by IVF, Louise Brown on 25 July 1978.

Indian Physician Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay created history when he became the first physician in India (and second in the world after British physicians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards) to perform the

In vitro fertilization diffrently resulting in a test tube baby Durga (alias Kanupriya Agarwal) on October 3, 1978.

Literature MarioVargas Llosa (Peru) for his cartography of structures of power and histrenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat.

Economy

Peter A. Diamond (USA)

Dale T. Mortensen (USA) and

Christopher A.

Pissarides (UK) for their analysis of markets with search frictions

The laureates have applied their theory to a wide range of markets.

However the most important application of the theory has been on the labor markets. The theory explains why matching jobs and workers can be insufficient to reducing unemployment.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India