Tag Archives: Nobel prize

The half-hole

The Nobelprice in Physics was awarde today to the three british researchers David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz for their contribution of the research on ultrathin materials, the plains of the mattter. They used a certain tool, the topology. What I didnot realize so far is that topology is the science of holes: You can not transform a hoop into a ball, the former has a hole in it, the latter not. There are structures with 0,1, 2, 3, … holes which can not be transformed into each other. Interesting.

The Nobel juror Thors Hans Hansson explained this and mentioned that holes can only be whole-numbered. There are not half-holes. This reminded me of Kurt Tucholsky, German pacifist and writer in the first part of the last century who published under the pseudonym Peter Panther a “Zur soziologischen Psychologie der Löcher“, the only English translation I found on this website: http://www.theavanwoland.com/thea_tul_text.html.

I dare to publish some lines from there:

The Philosophic Sociology of the Hole ( by Peter Panther alias Kurt Tucholsky)
A hole is there, where some-thing is not.
The hole is  the eternal companion of the non-hole.
Hole on it’s own, there is no such a thing, sorry.

If there would be something everywhere, there wouldn’t be any hole,
but there wouldn’t be any philosophy either and certainly no religion, as such that comes out of it.

The mouse couldn’t live without it, neither does man.
It’s the last chance for both of them,  when they are threatened by
the material.
Hole – is always good.

The hole is the fundament of social order and that’s how society is…

Tucholsky would have liked this Nobel prize very much.

The nobel prize for physiology and medicine 2015: William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura, Youyou Tu

This morning the Nobel prize in physiology and medicine 2015 was awarded to research on parasites and malaria.  Willaim C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura share one half for their work on parasites; Youyou Tu gets the other half for identifying new malaria drugs from Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have to eat my hat since I could never imagine something from Traditional Chinese Medicine could be really effective, much less be awarded the Nobel prize, but there it is and I might be more cautious in the time to be.

You have to read the paper of Youyou Tu (2004) where he summarizes his work since his graduation in 1969. It is chemical science starting with material out of the prescription book of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qinghaosu was the first product they found and that is now chemically modified to give much more potent anti-Malaria drugs.

Congratulation to this achievements!

Fig.1:Artemisine - QINGHAOSU
Artemisine – QINGHAOSU

Gerald Maurice Edelman 1929 -2014

Gerald Maurice Edelman died in La Jolla California at the age of 84.

Immunologist worldwide recognize him for his contribution to the antibody enigma. Trained in medicine and chemistry his first publication on antibodies established that these molecules can be subjected to urea and sulfhydryl treatment and yield smaller chains as we know now very well but was new in 1959 when first published. For his work on antibody strucuture which e.g. lead to the first sequence of Ig γ-chain he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972 together with Rodney R. Porter.

The antibody enigma was only solved by Susumu Tonegawa who showed that recombination of the same DNA could lead to millions of different mRNAs from which finally antibody molecules are translated. He obtained the Nobel Prize in 1987 as well.