Federal support contributed to all three 2021 Nobel Prizes for science

Federal support contributed to all three 2021 Nobel Prizes for science

October 6, 2021

Federally funded research scored a trifecta in this week's 2021 Nobel Prize announcements, as one or more winners in each of the three science-based categories received federal support.

Syukuro “Suki” Manabe, among the winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking climate science achievements, conducted pioneering research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the 1960s that laid the foundation for how scientists perceive the Earth’s climate and how human actions continue to influence it. Manabe, a senior meteorologist in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) based at Princeton University, developed the first three-dimensional models of the atmosphere while working at NOAA‘s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). Manabe's research team also received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in German shared half of the prize “for the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming,” according to the Nobel Prize announcement. The other half went to to Giorgio Parisi of Sapienza Univresity in Italy “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.”

David W.C. MacMillan of Princeton University and Benjamin List of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for (independent from each other) building an advanced tool for constructing molecules, both have received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). List received NIH support early in his career. MacMillan has received continuous funding from NIH since 2000, totaling $14.5 million, according to NIH data.

Their development of a precise new tool for molecular construction, called organocatalysis, has had a great impact on pharmaceutical research, and has made chemistry greener, according to the Nobel Prize announcement.

David Julius of the University of California San Francisco and Ardem Patapoutian of Scripps Research, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries related to human sensory perception, have also received NIH funding - including support from the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The NSF also funded Julius's early work through a Presidential Young Investigator award.

Their discoveries have unlocked one of the secrets of nature by explaining the molecular basis for sensing heat, cold and mechanical force, which is fundamental for our ability to feel, interpret and interact with our internal and external environment, according to the Nobel Prize website.

The Nobel Prizes will be presented to the winners in a ceremony on December 10, 2021, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Read more: https://www.nobelprize.org/

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