First Nobel of the year goes to three for work on immunology (and a contest)

October 3, 2011 • 3:01 am

Damn, didn’t get it again this year!  It’s Nobel season, and half an hour ago the Medicine and Physiology prize was announced: it will be shared by three scientists, the maximum number allowed, for work on both innate and adaptive immunity.  According to the New York Times:

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries about the immune system that opened new avenues for the treatment and prevention of infectious illnesses and cancer.

American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann shared the 10 million-kronor ($1.5 million) award with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, the Nobel committee at Stockholm’s Karolinska institute said.

Beutler and Hoffmann were cited for their discoveries in the 1990s of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms as they enter the body, and activate the first line of defense in the immune system, known as innate immunity.

Steinman was honored for the discovery two decades earlier of dendritic cells, which help regulate adaptive immunity, the next stage of the immune system’s response, when the invading microorganisms are purged from the body.

For more on Steinman and what he got his Prize for, see the Planet of the Apes blog at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The prizes for physics will be announced tomorrow, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, and the peace prize on Friday.  The greatly debased economics “award” (not a real Nobel) will be announced Oct. 10.

Last year we had a contest for this, and we’ll do it again this year.

Guess who will win the Nobel for literature and win an autographed paperback of WEIT.  Just be the first person posting below with the correct winner, and you’ll nab a book.  Contest closes midnight Eastern Standard Time (US) on Wednesday.  Only one guess per person, please.

42 thoughts on “First Nobel of the year goes to three for work on immunology (and a contest)

  1. I was there for the announcement this morning – the Nobel forum is a few hundred meters from my lab. It is very quick ceremony – the winners are read out in five languages (Alfred Nobel was fluent in five.)
    BigBob asked about the prize – the winners get a medal
    and a cheque for their share in the prize money, which is approximately 1 million dollars.
    Considering that there are almost always three winners each year for the prize this means that the average Nobel Prize win is about 25% that recieved by a Templeton prize winner!

    1. The Committee say they are ‘shocked’ by news of Steinman’s death & will have to decide whether it stands over the next few days. Can you add any news Sigmund?

  2. There have been murmurings about Haruki Murakami, which seems likely enough, so I’ll stick with him.

  3. I have always admired the work of Margaret Atwood. It would be great to see her awarded the Nobel for Literature.

  4. Thank you Sigmund. My wife only rates prizes that come in big boxes.

    I’ll maximise my chances with the favourite, Syrian poet Adonis.

    1. Listening to NPR this morning, I heard them report about the prizes several (over the course of about ninety minutes), before they apparently learned that one of the laureates was deceased. Under the current policies regarding eligibility for the Nobel prizes, this probably should not have happened, and the official Nobel prize Web site shows no indication that they are aware that he is deceased.

Leave a Reply