Cancer, Chaos, and the Early Universe
As always, the new Citation Laureates represent a range of advances and discoveries. In Physiology or Medicine, for example, Lewis C. Cantley is selected for his discovery of the signaling pathway phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). This work has underpinned the development of new treatments for cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease.
Another researcher in Physiology or Medicine, Karl J. Friston, developed statistical techniques for modeling and imaging brain function under various circumstances. This work contributed to theories on the development of schizophrenia.
A third selection in Physiology or Medicine is the husband-and-wife team of Yuan Chang and Patrick S. Moore, for identifying and isolating Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), responsible for the cancer among HIV/AIDS patients. Thanks to antiretroviral therapy, the incidence of the cancer is much lower. Yuan and Chang also identified the viral causes of three other cancers.
In Physics, a trio of researchers has been selected for advances in carbon-based electronics. The work of Phaedon Avouris, Cornelis Dekker, and Paul McEuen centers on the fabrication of a variety of nanostructures, including carbon nanotubes, which have found application in electronics and other areas.
Another Physics selection, Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, is honored for his pioneering work in the science of “chaos” and the erratic behavior of complex dynamic systems. His work on the mathematics commonly underlying these systems gave rise to a universal figure that now bears his name, the Feigenbaum Constant.
Rounding out the Citation Laureates in Physics is Rashid A. Sunyaev, for his work on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation left over from the Big Bang. Sunyaev’s predictions of slight fluctuations in the CMB were later confirmed by satellite observation, and his work contributed much to knowledge of galaxy formation and other aspects of the early universe.
Catalysis, Energy, and Risky Business
In Chemistry, John E. Bercaw, Robert G. Bergman, and Georgiy B. Shul’pin are selected for their research on carbon-hydrogen (C-H) functionalization, a very active area of chemical research that is expected to generate new methods for synthesis.
Another chemist, Jens Nørskov, wins distinction for his work on heterogeneous catalysis, a fundamental operation in the chemical industry. In particular, Norskov’s work has centered on developing sustainable and energy-efficient means of catalysis that are environmentally friendly.
Also in chemistry, three researchers – Tsutomu Miyasaka, Nam-Gyu Park, and Henry J. Snaith – are chosen for discovery and application in the mineral perovskite, for the fabrication of high-efficiency solar energy cells, now an intensive area of research.
In the category of Economics, Colin F. Camerer and George F. Loewenstein are selected for their research at the intersection of neuroscience, psychology, and economics. Their work centers on the behavioral aspects of economics – studying, for example, why people undertake risky investment gambles, why markets are prone to price “bubbles,” and the like.
Robert E. Hall has studied a variety of topics in microeconomics, notably the labor market during recessions. His recent work, for example, has shown that during a recession in today’s economy, unemployment does not increase because of a sudden glut of layoffs. Rather, it rises because job-seekers take much longer to find new jobs.
In the final selection for Economics, Michael C. Jensen, Stewart C. Myers, Raghuram G. Rajan are called out for their studies of the complex factors that influence individuals and organizations in decision making, particularly as it pertains to corporate finance.
We congratulate the newest Citation Laureates on their achievements and on the measureable esteem they have earned among their peers. May they enjoy a very purposeful visit to Sweden in the near future.