The 2012 Nobel prizes were announced last week. Here are the winners in physics, chemistry and medicine, complete with video explanations.
Serge Haroche and David Wineland won the physics prize "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". In essence, they showed that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it is possible to observe and measure a single photon of light.
The chemistry award went to Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka “for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors". Receptors are protein complexes that span cell membranes. Most drugs work by binding to particular membrane receptors.
The prize for medicine went to Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent". Normally, when mature cells divide, they can only give rise to more of the same kind of cell. Thanks to the breakthroughs celebrated by this award, researchers can now induce some mature cells to forget their programming and give rise to any kind of cell.
The award ceremony will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10th.