The Nobels start without favorites and with criticism for the lack of award-winning women

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  • The week begins with the awarding, this Monday, of the Medicine and Physiology Prize

The Nobels start without favorites and with criticism for the lack of women awarded

Everything is ready. ready for the start of the week of the Nobel Prizes: the delivery of the most important scientific awards of the year. This Monday, October 3, around 11:30 in the morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology. On Tuesday the 4th, more or less around the same time, it will be the turn of the day. We will discover who are the winners of the Physics award and on Wednesday 5 Now is the time to talk about Chemistry. broadcast live through the organization's website.

This year, the week of the Nobelstarts without clear favorites. At least in the scientific sphere. Just one year ago, on the eve of the awards ceremony, there were many rumors in scientific forums about a possible prize for vaccines against covid-19 or, at least, for one of the scientific advances that had changed the course of the coronavirus pandemic. But despite the frenzy for an award for “science against covid-19“, the 2021 awards highlighted jobs that have nothing to do with the pandemic. In this sense, as several scientists involved in the process later reflected, the Nobel Prizes opted to reward “more established” discoveries

In the Medicine category, the Nobel Prize went to the researchers David Julius and Ardem Patapoutianfor his discovery of receptors that regulate touch and temperature (an area of ​​study that, by the way, was inspired by experiments with chili peppers). In the area of ​​Physics, the works of Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi on “the science to understand the progress of the climate crisis” and other complex systems were distinguished. In Chemistry, the award went to researchers David MacMillan and Benjamin List for “the art of creating organic molecules.”

The delivery of the Nobel Prizes 2021 woke up great joy among the experts in each of the disciplines highlighted but, in turn, also generated occasional anger in the scientific community. For example, one more year criticism abounded for the lack of women among the winners. In Medicine, for example, of the 224 people awarded throughout the history of these awards, only 12 were women. In Physics, among the 218 winners there are only four researchers. And in Chemistry, of the 185 outstanding professionals, only seven are female scientists.  

The Nobel 2022 pools

This year, the Nobel pools are not too unanimous. There are voices that point, for example, to neurological research that has made it possible to decipher the mechanism behind diseases such as Parkinson's or dementia. Or to the incredible work of the Human Genome Project, which this year has managed to reconstruct the most complete atlas to date of the genes that determine our health and our illness< /strong>. There are also those who, with some hope, once again point to vaccines against covid-19 (and the development of mRNA technology) as candidates for the Nobel Prize. 

The reality is that theThe list of nominees and finalists is secret and is kept under lock and key until the last moment. The winners, in fact, find out about their prize  just when the announcement is made public. And the final count of candidates remains under summary secrecy for fifty years. so that, except for surprises, the expectation for the Nobel Prizes will remain strong. to the end

yes there is some other clue about the candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. This year, as announced by the organizers of the event, the names of the British journalist specializing in the natural world David Attenborough, the World Health Organization< /strong> and the Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Also among the candidates for the peace award are Greta Thunberg, Pope Francis and the Government of National Unity of Burma.  

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