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2011 Nobel Prize Winners

From female empowerment to further analysis of the universe, this year’s Nobel prize winners are prime examples of what founder Alfred Nobel hoped to achieve: progressive discoveries for the benefit of mankind.

In 1888, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, discovered that a French newspaper had mistakenly printed his obituary. It was a less than kind portrayal and he feared that he would only be remembered as “the merchant of death.” He changed his will and set up an international prize for great achievements in numerous fields that could benefit mankind, better known as the Nobel Prizes.

Since 1901, Nobel Prizes have been presented on December 10th in remembrance of Nobel’s death in 1896. This year the Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Medicine, and Peace have been cause for much joy and mourning.

Nobel Prize in Physics

The 2011 Nobel laureates for Physics are three American scientists: Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt. They have been recognized “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.” The Israeli chemist, Dan Shechtman, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his studies of quasicrystals. The professor is the tenth Israeli to win a prize.

Nobel Prize in Economics Winners

Two Americans, Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims, were recognized with prizes in economic science for their separate research on how government policy affects the economy. The Swedish poet, Tomas Transtrӧmer, won the Nobel Prize for literature. He suffered a stroke in 1990. Now he can barely speak. Fortunately, he can write. At 80 years old, he has a collection of 15 poetry books that have been translated into more than 60 languages.

Nobel Prize Winners for Medicine

This year there are three Nobel prize winners for medicine: Bruce Beulter, an American genetics scientist; Jules Hoffmann, a French scientist, and Ralph Steinman, a Canadian scientist. They have been recognized for their efforts to further understand the immune system. Ralph Steinman, used his research to prolong his life as he suffered from prostate cancer. He died just three days before learning he was a Nobel laureate.

Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Finally, three women were recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in ending the suppression of women. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia has promoted peace and development in her country. Leymah Gbowee, the head of the Women Peace and Security Network, helps Liberian women come together to ensure women’s participation in elections. And Tawakel Karman is in charge of a Yemeni humans’ rights group called Women Journalists without Chains.

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