No, you don’t have to be Jewish to win a Nobel Prize

A look at the Jewish Nobel Prize winners of 2011, and their research

December 09, 2011

Prof William Fischbein, LCM Assistant Professor of Finance and Physics, presented on Saul Permutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess’ “discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae” for which they won the Nobel Prize in physics.    

Dr. Jacob Newman, LCM professor of chemistry, gave a really cool slideshow presentation about the Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman (in chemistry) who discovered atypical crystalline structures (quasicrystals).

Dr. Kenneth Danishefsky, LCM associate professor of biology, presented on the Nobel Prize winners (in Medicine) Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann on “their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity” and Ralph M. Steinman on “his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity”.

The most interest thing I learned? Dendritic cells stimulate the immune system, and one type of treatment for cancer is using a patient’s own dendritic cells in-vivo to stimulate more antibodies against cancer cells thus making the immune system more effective against cancer. And the scariest? There are new theories being looked into that people may have cancer cells inside them all the time, but they only present as disease if the immune system fails to remove the cancerous cells.

Dean Sokol ended by emphasizing that these people did not make their discoveries overnight, but that it took much tenacity to achieve what they did, and their work should be a lesson to the student body that we can make a difference.

Overall, educational and encouraging. And of course, there was pizza.