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Frenchman Tirole wins Nobel economics prize

Nobel Prize copy

TiroleStockholm: French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics today for research on market power and regulation.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Tirole for clarifying “how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms.”

Tirole, 61, works at the Toulouse School of Economics in France.

“From the mid-1980s and onwards, Jean Tirole has breathed new life into research on such market failures,” the academy said, adding his work has strong bearing on how governments deal with mergers or cartels and how they should regulate monopolies.

“In a series of articles and books, JeanTirole has presented a general framework for designing such policies and applied it to a number of industries, ranging from telecommunications to banking,” the academy said.

The economics prize completed the 2014 Nobel Prize announcements.

Last week, different panels of Nobel judges announced the awards for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and the Nobel Peace Prize.

The awards will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Even though the economics award is not an original Nobel Prize – it was added in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank – it is presented with the others and carries the same prize money.

Last year the economics prize went to three Americans who shed light on the forces that move stock, bond and home prices.

India’s Satyarthi, Pakistan’s Malala win Nobel Peace Prize

Oslo: An Indo-Pak and Hindu-Muslim combination of Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai today shared the Nobel Peace Prize honours for 2014 for their work on promoting child rights in the troubled sub-continent.

60-year-old Satyarthi, who runs an NGO in India that has been in the forefront of rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking, and 17-year-old Malala, who shot to limelight after the Taliban militants pumped bullets into her for advocating education for girls, were named by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for the top global award this year.

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” the jury said.

Satyarthi, who runs NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (Save Childhood Movement), has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the Nobel committee said.

The Committee said it “regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

Malala, who was nominated in the peace prize category last year also, had displayed tremendous courage even after the Taliban attack when she resolutely expressed her determination to carry on with her campiagn for child rights and girls education especially in a country like Pakistan.

She has become the youngest Nobel laureate.

France’s Patrick Modiano wins literature Nobel

Stockholm: Patrick Modiano of France, who has made a lifelong study of the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country, was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature today.

The Swedish Academy gave the 8 million kronor (USD 1.1 million) prize to Modiano “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Modiano, 69, whose novel “Missing Person” won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1978 was born in a west Paris suburb two months after World War II ended in Europe in July 1945. His father was of Jewish Italian origins and met his Belgian actress mother during the occupation of Paris.

Jewishness, the Nazi occupation and loss of identity are recurrent themes in his novels, which include 1968’s “La Place de l’Etoile” later hailed in Germany as a key Post-Holocaust work.

Modiano owes his first big break to a friend of his mother’s, French writer Raymond Queneau, who first introduced him to the Gallimard publishing house when he was in his early twenties.

He has published more than 40 works in French, some of which have been translated into English, including “Ring of Roads: A Novel,” ”Villa Triste,” ”A Trace of Malice,” and “Honeymoon.”

He has also written children’s books and film scripts and made the 1974 feature movie “Lacombe, Lucien” with director Louis Malle. He was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy said time, memory and identity are recurring themes in Modiano’s works.

“His books speak to each other; they are echoes of each other,” Englund told Swedish broadcaster SVT. “That makes his work in a way unique. You could say that he is sort of a Marcel Proust of our time.”

Modiano, who lives in Paris, rarely accords interviews. In 2012, he won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature.

Last year’s prize went to Canadian writer Alice Munro for her mastery of the short story.

2 Americans, 1 German win Chemistry Nobel

081014_AP10_8_2014_000182BStockholm: Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner and German scientist Stefan Hell won the Nobel Prize in chemistry today for developing new methods that let microscopes see finer details than they could before.

The three scientists were cited for “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy,” which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said had bypassed the maximum resolution of traditional optical microscopes.

“Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nanodimension,” the academy said.

Betzig, 54, works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia.

Hell, 51, is director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany.

Moerner, 61, is a professor at Stanford University in California.

For a long time optical microscopes were limited by among other things the wavelength of light. So scientists believed they could never yield a resolution better than 0.2 micrometers.

But helped by fluorescent molecules, the three scientists were able to break that limit, taking optical microscopy into a “new dimension” that made it possible to study the interplay between molecules inside cells, including the aggregation of disease-related proteins, the academy said.

Each of the laureates has used these methods to study the tiniest components of life.

Hell has studied nerve cells to get a better understanding of brain synapses; Moerner has studied proteins related to Huntington’s disease; and Betzig has tracked cell division inside embryos, the academy said.

“I was totally surprised, I couldn’t believe it,” Hell said after learning he had won. “Fortunately I remembered the voice of Nordmark and I realized it was real,” he added, referring to the Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Moerner said it’s been 25 years since the first measurements were made.

“I’m incredibly excited and happy to be included with Eric Betzig and Stefan Hell,” Moerner told The Associated Press.

2 Japanese, 1 American win Nobel Prize in physics

Stockholm:  Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and US scientist Shuji Nakamura today won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the invention is just 20 years old, “but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all.”

Akasaki, 85, is a professor at Meijo University and distinguished professor at Nagoya University. Amano, 54, is also a professor at Nagoya University, while the 60-year-old Nakamura is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The laureates triggered a transformation of lighting technology when they produced bright blue light from semiconductors in the 1990s, something scientist had struggled with for decades, the Nobel committee said.

Using the blue light, LED lamps emitting white light could be created in a new way.

“As about one fourth of world electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes, the LEDs contribute to saving the Earth’s resources,” the committee said.

Nakamura, who spoke to reporters in Stockholm over a crackling telephone line after being woken up by the phone call from the prize jury, said it was an amazing, and unbelievable feeling.

US-British scientist John O’Keefe yesterday split the Nobel Prize in medicine with Norwegian couple May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for breakthroughs in brain cell research that could pave the way for a better understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The Nobel award in chemistry will be announced tomorrow followed by the literature award on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The economics prize will be announced next Monday, completing the 2014 Nobel Prize announcements.

Trio win Nobel medicine prize for brain’s ‘GPS’

Nobel awardeeStockholm: British-American researcher John O’Keefe today won the Nobel Medicine Prize with a Norwegian couple, Edvard and May-Britt Moser, for discovering how the brain navigates.

They earned the coveted prize for discovering a positioning system — an “inner GPS” — which enables us to orient ourselves in space, the jury said.

The research has implications for Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain, it said.

“The discoveries of John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries,” it said.

“How does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?”

In 1971, O’Keefe discovered the first component of the system, finding that in lab rats, specific cells in the hippocampus were triggered when the animal was at a certain location in a room.

Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places, leading O’Keefe to conclude that these “place cells” formed a map of the room.

More than three decades later, in 2005, May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered another piece of the invisible positioning system.

They identified “grid cells” – nerve cells which generate a coordinated system, rather like longitude and latitude, and allow the brain to make precise positioning and pathfinding.

Research into grid cells may give insights into how memories are created — and explain why when we recall events, we so often have to picture the location in our minds.

The jury pointed out that sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease often lose their way and cannot recognise the environment.

“Knowledge about the brain’s positioning system may, therefore, help us understand the mechanism underpinning the devastating spatial memory loss that affects people with this disease,” it said.

May-Britt Moser told the Nobel Foundation that she was “in shock”, and that her husband didn’t even know yet as he was on a plane to Munich.

“We have the same vision, we love to understand and we do that by talking to each other, talking to other people and then try to address the questions we are interested in, the best way we can think of,” she said.

“And to be able to discuss this when you get an idea on the spot instead of (having to) plan a meeting in one or two or three weeks — that makes a huge difference.”

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