The Nobel Prizes have begun to be awarded this week. So far:
Medicine: James Rothman (US), Randy Schekman (US) and Thomas Suedhof (Germany, US), for discoveries on how hormones, enzymes and other key substances are transported within cells.
From the AP:
The Nobel committee said their research on "vesicle traffic" — the transport system of our cells — helped scientists understand how "cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time" inside cells.
Disturbances to the system can contribute to diabetes and neurological and immunological disorders, the committee said.
Physics: Francois Englert (Belgium) and Peter W. Higgs (UK), for their research into the Higgs boson particle:
From the AP:
Englert and Higgs theorized about the existence of the particle in the 1960s to provide an answer to a riddle: why matter has mass. The tiny particle, they believed, acts like molasses on snow — causing other basic building blocks of nature to stick together, slow down and form atoms.
But decades would pass before scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, were able to confirm its existence. The European particle physics laboratory announced the news in July of last year.
Amusingly enough (?), one 2012 winner was deemed non-essential by the US government, and furloughed due to the government shutdown (Thanks to Buzz for posting the link to this article originally):