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Nobel puts CPI on world stage

By Rebekkah Marshall |

Early next month, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will hold its award ceremonies for the 2009 Nobel Prizes, the winners of which were announced in October. The prestigious awards are arguably the most high-profile recognitions of the two cornerstones of our profession, chemistry and physics, and underscore the prolific benefits that the chemical process industries (CPI) provide to society. Meanwhile, they are a good predictor of the CPI sectors that will continue to strengthen in the future. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 awards studies of one of life’s core processes: the ribosome’s translation of DNA information into life. Ribosomes produce proteins, which in turn control the chemistry in all living organisms. As ribosomes are crucial to life, they are also a major target for new antibiotics. This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry awards Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.), Thomas A. Steitz (Yale University, New Haven, Conn.) and Ada E. Yonath (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel) for having shown what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level. All three have used a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for…
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