Oct 13, 2007

Nobel Prize Winners of 2007

(Pics adopted from Nobelprize.org and Answers.com)

There is one common thread connecting this year's Nobel awards in chemistry, physics, and peace. They deal with 'solids' of various kinds. Lemme explain..
A German chemist, Prof. Gerhard Ertl, won for his work on 'surface chemistry'. Most of you would imagine a chemical reaction as colorful events happening in glass vessels but, a great deal of chemistry happens right in front of our eyes every day, detailed study of which is extremely difficult. Examples are rusting of metallic objects and fading of clothes on fabrics. The smoke coming out of motor vehicles is cleaned up by filtering off toxic gases using special metal coatings in the exhaust pipe. The whole area of catalysts that don't dissolve in any solvent, is driven by surface reactions. Prof. Ertl has been studying them using sophisticated techniques.
Two European scientists have won it for their discovery of a unique property called 'giant magnetoresistance' (GMR) or 'colossal magnetoresistance'. This is an exclusive solid state property.This property is used in 'magnetic writing' which is the basis for all the magnetic disks, data writing on disks, etc. Their discovery and subsequent development by IBM scientists helped a lot in the miniaturization of memory parts.
Prof. C. N. R. Rao, India's eminent scientist, has worked quite a lot on both these two fields, especially in the past 15 years. I am sure he would be very proud of the recognition given to the areas close to his heart.
Al Gore and the 'Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change' (IPCC) have won it together. A lot of their concern has been towards the polar ice melting (the 'solid' connection). Will Al Gore's win affect the race for the candidature for the next year's presidential elections? We have to wait and see..
A proud moment for Indians.. The chairman of IPCC is an Indian, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, who is heading IPCC for over 5 years now. Rediff has a story on this, in which it has put him alongside individual Nobel-winning Indians, like Tagore, Raman, Teresa, Chandrasekhar and Sen. IMHO, that comparison is absolutely out-of-place.. It will be sensible if the media doesn't go overboard on Mr. Pachauri. He himself has said that it is the victory of IPCC, not his. In the official Nobel prise website, there is mention only of the organization IPCC but not any individual, including its present chairman. I feel it is justified.
Congrats to all the winners!!!


Nice Guy Eddy said...

Hey Raju,

That was a nice explanation about 'surface chemistry'.Some say the Ipod is a reality due to the disovery by the german scientists.When i saw Pachuri's face on TV i thought he is the same guy who co authored 'India 2020' with Abdul Kalam.I got confused between him and Y S Rajan.Anyway,Hearty congrats to all the winners

PPattian : புபட்டியன் said...

Good informative article.

//It will be sensible if the media doesn't go overboard on Mr. Pachauri//

I too hope so...

Janani said...

Congrats to all Winners.

But lemme bring my science professor please....

Raju said...

Eddy, thanks..

Every improvement in miniaturization of electronics can be attributed in some part to the GMR inventors.
Krish, enna, romba naala aalaiye kaanom?
Janani, I tried to explain as simple and concise as I could.. U still need to bring ur science prof huh? :)

Nitin said...

good post raju. enna raju, cricket samacharame kaanum.

Raju said...

Nitin, thanks..
Cricket-le onnum solramadhiriye illaiye.. enna post panradhu.. Ippadi odhai vangittu irukkom Aus-kitte.. :(

mitr_bayarea said...


Visiting the blog world after a long time, updated my blog too. Nice sumamry on the Nobel prize winners and the chemistry explanation helped.

Aparum, how is ur cricket following coming along these days. A total waste of time and hours before the lap-top thaan in viewing the miserable show w/Aussies.

Raju said...

Mitr, welcome back.. :)

Cricket following has taken quite a beating for over a year now. The 20-20 cup win was heartening, so I wrote a post on it sometime ago. Avlodhan..

VM said...

Why you didn't list the winners of other categories?
Bio ?

Raju said...

VM, didn't read much on other winners (medicine, lit and economics). The ones that I wrote on were more closely related to chemistry. Thats why I focussed only on them.

Suresh - Hot Random Stuff said...

Happy Diwali Raju!