Lessons From Nobel Prize Winners
Several of the most recent recipients of the Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry and medicine share their work habits, their inspiration and what else put them on the path to Nobel gold.
What's the Latest Development?
Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry, Daniel Shechtman was lambasted a 'quasi-scientist' by some of the most respected scientists in his field. The mean-spirited turn of phrase came from his discovery of quasicrystals structures, which are now commonly taught as part of a standard chemistry curriculum. "Young scientists" says Shechtman, "should become so thoroughly versed in their field that even if the biggest names around belittle or insult their work, they have the confidence to see it through."
What's the Big Idea?
What other advice do Nobel Prize winners have to offer budding scientists? Don't ask small questions, says Bruce Beutler, winner of the 2011 Nobel in medicine: "Don't be conservative and timid. Don't set out to make incremental advances. Do something very important. Choose a problem that you'd be very proud to solve." And of course, there is no substitute for hard work. Beutler wouldn't let a weekend go by when he was working on an important project, which was almost always, he says.
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What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
It's a "canary in the coalmine," said one climate scientist.
- A team of researchers discovered that permafrost in Northern Canada is melting at unusually fast rates.
- This could causes dangerous and costly erosion, and it's likely speeding up climate change because thawing permafrost releases heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere.
- This week, Canada's House of Commons declared a national climate emergency.
One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".
- Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
- Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
- A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
Not every part of a satellite burns up in reentry. Considering the growing number of satellites in orbital space, that's a big problem.
- Earth's orbital space is getting more crowded by the day.
- The more satellites and space junk we put into orbit, the greater a risk that there could be a collision.
- Not all materials burn up during reentry; that's why scientists need to stress test satellite parts to ensure that they won't become deadly falling objects.
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