Neanderthal genes, atom confusion, and chemist designer: for which they gave the Nobel Prize

Neanderthal genes, atom confusion, and chemist designer: for which they gave the Nobel Prize

The annual Nobel Prize season is open, with committees in Sweden and Norway each October awarding prizes in science, literature and economics, as well as in peacekeeping.

A total of six prizes are awarded, each of which celebrates the innovative contribution of the individual or organization to a particular field, and awards are awarded for physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature and peacekeeping.

During the pandemic, the organizers corrected the procedure: in 2020 and 2021, some events were cancelled: those held in Stockholm replaced online awards and the Oslo Peace Prize was awarded to a limited audience; this year, the winners will receive their medals and diplomas in December in a traditional format, and the winners of the previous two years will also be invited to the ceremony.

The Nobel Committees have already announced a list of winners in three areas: physiology or medicine, physics and chemistry.

Alfred Nobel's latest will

The Nobel Prize is the five separate awards that are given in accordance with Alfred Nobel's will to those "who during the previous year have brought the greatest benefit to mankind" in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and the world.

In 1968, in honour of his 300th anniversary, Sveriges Riksbank funded the creation of the Swedish National Bank Prize for Economic Sciences, Alfred Nobel, which is also administered by the Nobel Foundation, and is therefore often referred to as the "Nobelian" award.

According to Albert Nobel's will, most of the assets he owned were sold and the money was invested in valuable assets from which interest is invested and the bonus fund is formed. The annual income is divided into five equal parts, each of which is used to finance a separate bonus.

One or two jobs may be awarded the Nobel Prize, but the total number of winners should not exceed three.

A prize may not be awarded to anyone unless the members of the committee concerned have found decent work among the applicants, in which case the prizes are retained until the following year; for example, in 1948, in the year of Mahatma Gandhi's murder, the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee refused to award the Peace Prize because "there was no suitable live candidate".

The choice of winners and the award are preceded by a great deal of work, which is carried out throughout the year by numerous scientific and social organizations around the world, and the final selection of winners is carried out by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Nobel's will after his death caused much controversy, both in Sweden and abroad, because the scientist and engineer had left most of his fortune for the establishment of the prize. His family opposed the establishment of the prize, and his named winners refused to do what he requested in his will. It took five years for the first Nobel Prize to be awarded in 1901.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize was awarded for studying the Neanderthal genome and discovering the Denisovian.


Swante Paabo, Sweden

Founder and Professor of the Max Planck Institute of Evolution Anthropology at Leipzig, Associate Professor of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, formerly a researcher at the University of Zurich and the University of California at Berkeley, Professor of Munich University.

For what?

For his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominids and human evolution

What's the point of the job?

Due to extreme technical problems associated with DNA degradation for tens of thousands of years and contamination by micro-organisms and modern humans, it has long been unclear whether archaic DNA analysis of extinct forms of hominids is possible.

The researcher sequenced the Neanderthal gene for the first time.

In addition, the scientist has shown that the gene transfer occurred from these now extinct species to Homo sapiens after the migration from Africa, which began some 70,000 years ago, confirming that the anatomical ancestors of modern people were interconnected with other species that lived in the same territory.

Why would you do that?

Paabo's discoveries not only shed light on man's evolutionary history, but also have practical significance: according to research, the genomes of contemporary non-African people contain between 1 and 2 per cent of Neanderthal genetic material, while the archaic segments of DNA differ in humans and in total about 20 per cent of the Neanderthal genome are retained by modern humans, and for example, between 4 and 6 per cent of the genome is composed of the Denisovian.

Since archaic people have already been genetically adapted to life in some environments outside Africa, their intersection with the anatomical ancestors of modern people has helped the latter to adapt and survive under new conditions.

For example, modern Tibetans have found a version of the gene of the hypoxia path, which they have received from a Denisan man and which helps to survive at high altitude. Another example is gene sets that are responsible for interacting with viruses. Recent research has shown that archaic alleles on chromosomes can affect the risk of respiratory failure in coronavirus infection.

There are other examples of links between archaic alleels and human phenotypes associated with diseases or developmental features, which continue to develop actively, but it is now clear that by studying the links between the genes of ancestors and human physiology, many unusual properties can be discovered that will be useful in medicine.

Nobel Prize in Physics

Quantum computer parents were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics


  • Alain Aspect, Professor, University of Vienna, Austria.

The award is awarded in equal shares to all three researchers.

For what?

For experiments with confused photons, finding a violation of Bell's inequality, and innovation in quantum informatics

What's the point of the job?

In the 1960s, physicist John Stewart Bell developed a mathematical inequality that tested the presence of hidden variables that could explain the mysterious connection of particles in quantum mechanics.

If inequalities are being met, then the hypothesis of local realism is true, which says that all objects have "fully existing" values of parameters and characteristics for any possible measurement, so there is no "Shrödinger's cattle".

The American John Crowser developed Bell's ideas and invented a practical experiment that revealed a violation of Bell's inequality and thus confirmed quantum mechanics. Alan Aspect continued Crowser's research and refined the experiment to close a possible "lozey" that might have affected the outcome.

Using improved tools and a long series of experiments, Anton Cylinger was the first to use confused quantum states in practice, among other things, his research team demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which allows quantum state to be moved from one particle to another at a distance.

Why would you do that?

The complex effects of quantum mechanics are beginning to be applied, and there is now an extensive research area, including quantum computers, quantum networks and a safe connection to quantum encryption, which is based on the effects of particle complexity.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for a simple way to create complex substances.


  • Caroline Bertozzi, Professor, Scripps Research Research Institute, USA.

The award is awarded in equal shares to all three researchers.

For what?

For the development of cliché and bio-orthogonal chemistry

What's the point of the job?

In 2001, American explorer Barry Sharpless developed and introduced the concept of click chemistry, the main idea of which is that complex chemical molecules can be collected from simple elements, just like a house from a Lego designer, and that reactions must take place quickly and undesirable by-products are not formed.

In 2002, independently of each other, Charles and Danish scientist Morten Meldal proposed a chemical reaction that allowed the full implementation of the ideas of click chemistry, and it appeared that in the presence of single-valent copper, the reaction of the asid-alkin cycling could be used to rapidly assemble complex molecules.

This reaction ensures that organic compounds containing an azid group , usually related to carbon atoms, are attached to alkins, an acyclic non-restrictive hydrocarbons, containing one triangular relationship between carbon atoms.

The third award winner, Caroline Bertozzi, developed a cliché-chemical response that works inside living organisms; its bio-orthogonal reactions do not disrupt natural processes in cells and allow the study of living organisms.

Why would you do that?

Azid-alkin cycling in the presence of a copper catalyst is actively used in pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry; for example, it is used to develop pharmaceuticals, map DNA and create new materials with controlled properties.

The bioorthogonal reactions developed by Sharples are used worldwide to study cells and monitor biological processes. By analysing these processes, researchers have improved, for example, the targeting of cancer drugs that are currently undergoing clinical trials.

What do the winners get?

The official award ceremony for all the winners will take place on December 10, the day Alfred Nobel died, in Stockholm.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, the Nobel laureates receive a medal and a special diploma from the King of Sweden, each of which is uniquely developed by the award-winning institutions for the winners who receive them, a certificate containing an image and a text in Swedish indicating the name of the winner and a reference to why he received the prize.