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Who are the 2019 Nobel Laureates and what have they accomplished?


Their work on cells and oxygen, poverty reduction or lithium batteries has earned them the prestigious award. Here are the main things to remember about this year's awards.

Who are the winners honored this year with a Nobel Prize? Back on this season 2019.

  • Medicine: regulation of cellular oxygenation

William Kaelin, Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

Two Americans, Gregg Semenza (Johns Hopkins University) and William Kaelin (Dana-Farber Institute, Harvard Medical School), and a Briton, Sir Peter Ratcliffe (Oxford University, Francis Crick Institute), were honored for their work on the how cells adapt to changes in oxygen levels, especially when it drops in the blood. The fundamental importance of oxygen has been known for centuries, but the process of adapting cells to changes in oxygen availability has long been a mystery. The work of the researchers helped lift it but also paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases, said the Nobel Committee.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Nobel Prize in medicine: the regulation of cellular oxygenation awarded
  • Physics: cosmology and exoplanets

James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

As in previous years, the Nobel Committee crowned three researchers. The first two are well known to the community of astrophysicists, since they are the co-discoverers of the first exoplanet, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz .

These two Swiss researchers (Queloz was then Mayor's doctoral student) detected for the first time, in 1995, a planet revolving around another star, 51 Pegasi, located 51 light-years from Earth, using of an instrument imagined by Mayor himself (the ELODIE spectrograph) that they had mounted on the telescope of the Haute-Provence observatory. The announcement of this discovery opened up new fields of research, including exoplanetology and exobiology. Today, more than 4,000 exoplanets have been detected, and this number continues to grow.

The third researcher is Canadian James Peebles, considered one of the fathers of modern cosmology. He has been the author of major works on the model of the Big Bang which still refer today and which laid the basis of the current understanding of the universe. It has also greatly improved our knowledge of two great mysteries of contemporary cosmology: dark matter and dark energy, which represent respectively 26% and 69% of the universe's energy density (the remaining 5% being the visible matter, the one we are made of).

Read also Nobel of physics: a cosmologist and the discoverers of the first exoplanet rewarded
  • Chemistry: lithium batteries

John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry honors three researchers, two Americans and a Japanese, key players in the development of lithium batteries, present in portable electronics and automobiles.

In order of appearance in this invention from the 1970s to the 90s, Stanley Whittingham , of Binghamton University, New York, John Goodenough , Austin University, Texas, and Akira Yoshino , Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University of Nagoya have successively improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries.

In the 1970s, Stanley Whittingham tripled the energy of the first batteries, incorporating a new material based on lithium, titanium and sulfur.

In 1980, it was John Goodenough's turn to double battery performance, thanks to the use of lithium and cobalt oxide in the electrode. Akira Yoshino intervenes in 1985. His innovation is to replace the lithium with graphite, which avoids any risk of short circuit of the battery, that lithium could until then provoke.

With this 97-year-old John Goodenough Award for Chemistry, the Nobel laureate breaks the record of the oldest winner in his history.

Read also The Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewards three researchers for their work on lithium batteries
  • Literature: two award-winning European writers

Olga Tokarczuk Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

Exceptionally, the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes were awarded at the same time, after a scandal that prevented the awarding of the award last year.

The Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk received the prize for the year 2018. The Swedish Academy praised "a narrative imagination which, with an encyclopedic passion, symbolizes the crossing of borders as a form of life" . Aged 57, she has written a dozen books of different styles (poetry, historical novel, detective ...), translated into twenty-five languages, including Les Pérégrins , The Books of Jakob or On the Bones of the Dead . This leftist woman, recognizable by her dreadlocks hairstyle, takes a critical look at the conservative and nationalist government in power in Poland.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Nobel Prize in Literature: Poland's Olga Tokarczuk, writer at the crossroads of peoples, distinguished

Peter Handke. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

The 2019 Nobel Prize was awarded to the Austrian writer Peter Handke , who is described by the academicians as "heir to Goethe" , whose work "of linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the singularity of the human experience. » . At 76, he is one of the most widely read German-speaking writers, with more than eighty published works. But his appointment sparked controversy because of his pro-Serb positions during the war in former Yugoslavia, and his presence in 2006 at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, accused of genocide. "This is a literary prize, not a political prize , " said Anders Olsson, one of the Swedish academicians,

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Nobel Prize for Literature 2019 awarded to Peter Handke
  • Peace: the resolution of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Abiy Ahmed. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed "for his efforts to achieve peace and for international cooperation, especially for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with Eritrea" Said the Nobel Committee Chair, who also highlighted the role of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

Abiy Ahmed, a young 43-year-old leader of a modest family, came to power in Ethiopia in April 2018 after several years of anti-government protests, and ended in July 2018 a state of war with the country. Eritrea, an old Ethiopian province, reopening embassies and borders, even if this reconciliation is not yet fully completed.

Read also Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize
  • Economy: how to reduce poverty in the world

The Nobel Prize in Economics 2019 - or, more exactly, the Swedish Central Bank's prize in economics - rewards for the second time in its history a woman, moreover a young laureate. 46-year-old French researcher Esther Duflo and Americans Adhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer are crowned for their work on fighting poverty.

In the J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) research laboratory, which Esther Duflo and Adhijit Banerjee, married in the city, founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2003, the three researchers systematized a microeconomic and empirical method for improving public policies. It consists in observing, in the field, changes in the behavior of a population in the face of financial assistance, new technology, new regulations, etc. on the basis of "random sample assessment" , to then guide development policies.

Esther Duflo, who advised President Obama in 2013 on development issues, has already received several awards for her work: the Best Economist Award in 2005, the John Bates Clark Medal in 2010 and the CNRS Medal in 2011.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Esther Duflo, a new choice for the Nobel Prize in Economics 2019


Source: lemonde

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