Oct 5, 2005

Nobel Prize


Just a minute ago, the 2005 Nobel prize winners for the year 2005 were announced. As I expected, one of my shortlists, Robert Grubbs of CalTech shares the prize with Schrock and Chauvin for the development of 'metathesis'. Congratulations to them!!

On my very first day at work in US, I met Robert Grubbs (Bob Grubbs as he is called), as he was visiting our department in University of Florida and was a guest to our group. It was very inspiring to get introduced to him and attend his series of lectures. I dont know about Chauvin but Grubbs and Schrock are two names that have been synonymous with 'metathesis'. I havent done any metathesis myself but my wife has.

It involves a reaction between two molecules having double bonds, in the presence of 'metathesis catalysts'. It gives rise to two new molecules having double bonds and one of them is usually a gas, such as ethylene. The gas escapes out of the reaction, thus driving the reaction to completion and in only one direction, i.e. towards the products. It is hard to explain to non-chemists about it so I will try to walk you through the work of this year's physics winners.

For physics, the award goes to pioneers in 'optics', especially 'laser optics'. Roy Glouber, the founder of 'quantum optics' gets a half of the prize for his theoretical work on blending quantum mechanics and optics. Two others share the other half, for their work on 'precision spectroscopy' using lasers. Their work has helped in getting the exact speed of light, to the precision of centimeters!! Ultrafast laser techniques such as femtosecond (1 in a million billion second) spectroscopy have been immensely benefitted by their work.

PS: Something about 'Nobel prize'. Everyone except Swedes pronounce it similar to 'noble'. I heard from one Swedish prof. that 'there is nothing noble about Nobel'. It is supposed to be pronounced differently... like how u would say 'nobale' or 'nobayl'.

Came across this cool game in the official site on my area of work, which is 'conducting polymers'. Will give you an idea of the exciting possibilities with these speciality plastics. Check it out.

20 comments:

Vanathi said...

Writing updated news dude...

Nitin said...

cool update. i used to call nobel prize noble prize too, but didn't realize that I was saying it wrong, then one day one of my teachers told me its no-bell nobel.

Raju said...

Vanathi, welcome. This was the most updated and hottest news I wrote. Since I got up midnight to watch cricket, it was possible.

Nitin, me too. Even a Nobel prize nominee from Germany, who was 70+, was saying it wrong. Thats when the Swedish professor said it was nobayle. (no-bell also doesnt sound correct, IMO).

ada-paavi!!!! said...

avanga nobel prize win pannanga nu teriyum, for wat i cannot comprehend

Raju said...

Vatsan, let me see whether I can get it across to you. 'Metathesis' is an advanced organic reaction. It is, as I said, a reaction involving 'exchange of partners' and has made a good impact on the areas of synthetic chemistry and polymer chemistry.

It involves a reaction between two molecules having double bonds, in the presence of 'metathesis catalysts'. It gives rise to two new molecules having double bonds and one of them is usually a gas, such as ethylene. The gas escapes out of the reaction, thus driving it to completion and in only one direction.

tt_giant said...

Although I learnt a bit of chemistry, this thing just flies above my head. But I liked the game though!.

Raju.. metathesis.. seri. onnumillai.

Raju said...

Deepak, I understand.. I tried to explain it in the simplest of terms according to me but they could be still over the head for non-chemists.

Ennavo solla vandhadhu madhiri irukku?

Appuram, oru question: How do you load 'gif' images into a post? I tried a few but 'Hello' doesnt accept them.

tt_giant said...

Raju: GIF should not be a problem. When you compose a new post, click the picture upload icon and upload normally. Dont use Hello for GIF.

unga post a thirumba oru vaati padinga..

Nitin said...

Raju, did u check out the first super series game. Its pathetic to see these top players bat so bad, hopefully the do better in the second ODI.

Raju said...

Deepak, thanks for the GIF solution. I think, a few months ago, when I clicked on the picture upload icon, it didnt have the option of direct picture uploading, am I right?

About metathesis, padichenn... purinjudhu.. maathittenn.. Indha Nobel website-karangalukku vere word-e kidaikkalaiya... Nethu night thookka kalakkathula post pannappo gavanikkalai.. (unga post-le neenga sonna partially hidden worst-u madhiri ayiducha?)


Nitin, I woke up at 2:30 AM and watched the game. It was, as you said, pathetic and disappointing to see them back to pavilion with single digit scores. When the team score was 70 something for five, Sangakkara was batting with a 50+ score.. Shame on all the big names!! I hope this defeat hurts them a lot and they come back in the next game strongly. IMO, as I mentioned in the 'Super series' post, Sehwag is hopelessly out of form in ODI's and needs to be replaced by Chris Gayle. When Sachin returns, if Saurav doest have tennis elbow, then Sehwag should be out of the Indian team, sent to the domestic tournaments to tone his one-day skills.

tt_giant said...

Raju: hehe .. now ok..

Raju said...

mmm Deepak, idhudhan instant karma enbadha? Aparna-voda post-le Bride and Prejudice title pathi comment pannadhukku ipppo ennaiyum ariyama oru 'andha madhiri' vishayam vandhuruchu.. Deliberate-a appadi oru post pannalamna idhu varaikkum eppadiyo chance amaiyala.. within a month or so, we are discussing about it third time, ille?

tt_giant said...

bottom line: we are wostt-u. avalodhaan!.. ;-). yet another common aspect!.

edhu epidiyo, SJ Suryah alavukku pogaama irundhaa seri.

Raju said...

Cha cha.. appadiyellam onnum illa.. Kittathatta ellarum nammalai polathaan.. enna, namma konjam open-a sollittom, avlodhan.. Nammalai naame 'worst-u'nnu sollikkalama?

Ellarukkulleyum oru SJ Suryah irukkan... enna, sila peru control pannikkuvanga.. sila peru opena ellathaiyum kottiduvanga..

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Thanks for the info Raju. Wow..amazing to hear that you know Mr. Grubbs.!! I am not a chemist..so pardon me for not commenting on the details.!

I think Noble is pronounces as nobale...( as a bale of cloth). Am I right?

Me too said...

Wow! Now you can proudly say you have met a nobale laureate, huh? 'Neengalum edhavadhu senju oru Nobale prize vaangunga. Nanga perumaiya sollikarom!'

Raju and Deepak, rendu perum seriye ille!!!

Adaengappa !! said...

Good info..Thanks..

Chemistry..ennikume enaku mystery !!

Raju said...

Narayanan, if one is long enough in the field of science, it happens.. one gets to meet and talk to Nobel laureates during conferences/ sabbaticals, etc.. I forgot to mention that Grubbs did his BS and MS from our department here, so he likes to visit UF. I was more excited to meet Prof. Alan Heeger, another Nobel laureate five years ago in Austria, just months before he won it. These are some unforgettable happy moments and, as I mentioned in my '7x7 wishes', I wish to get as many autographs of Nobel laureates as possible.. Let me see.. (first i need to buy one)..

Aps, I have met not one, but 3 so far.. That is pretty common.. I want to work with one of the Nobel laureates.. Let me see.. 'Edhavadhu senju' ellam Nobel prize vanga mudiyadhu... namakkum adhukkum rommmmmba dhooram... chance-e illey... "Chinnanchiru kili"yoda birthday party eppadi?
I thought all the regular visits and comments by my friends to this post are over, so just having literally a 1-to-1 conversation with Deepak.. hehehehe.. (mugathule vazhiyara asadai thodaichukkarenn).

Prabhu, thanks.. Chemistry: mystery-ya? mmmm..

Me too said...

3-ya?? mmm... periya aalu dhaan neenga! Hope your wish(to work with Nobel laureates) and mine(you becoming one yourself)comes true!!
Kili's b'day party is tomorrow(inge ellame weekend dhaane!).

Raju said...

Aps, as I said earlier, it HAPPENS.. I know of a guy who would make sure that he goes and talks to a Nobel laureate whenever he gets a chance. He must have spoken to dozens already. That much enthu.. I havent gone out of way so far. With these three, I had a chance to interact, but coincidentally, all before they got the prize. Indha field-le idhellam sagajam.. Ennoda aasai niraiverumo illaiyo ungalodadhu mmmhmhmhm.. chance-e illai..

Kili-kku many many birthday wishes!! Looking forward to the fotos..