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Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded.

Two Israelis and an American won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry this October. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences chose Irwin Rose, 78, of the University of California, Irvine, and Avram Hershko, 67, and Aaron Ciechanover, 57, both of the Israel Institute of Technology, in Halla, Israel, "for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation." These scientists discovered the method by which cells tag defective proteins (or proteins that have outlived their usefulness) and direct them to the cellular machinery that grinds them into reuseable parts.

This system not only recycles raw materials, it regulates many of a cell's activities by removing the "target" proteins from the stage during important scenes in the cell's life. Ubiquitin is the key molecule involved. It is so useful it exists in a nearly identical form in yeast, in human beings, and in every organism between them on the evolutionary ladder. The three will share the $1.36 million prize.

The front side of all the Nobel Medals features a portrait of Alfred Nobel, but the back sides vary. The medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences--for the prizes in physics and chemistry--represents Nature in the form of a goddess resembling Isis, emerging from the clouds and holding in her arms a cornucopia. The veil that covers her cold and austere face is held by the Genius of Science. The Swedish medals bear the Latin inscription "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes," which is taken from Virgil's Aeneid and means "And they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery." They were designed by Erik Lindberg.

Visit the Nobel e-Museum at www.nobel.se.
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Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Words:270
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