Techniques that put natural evolution on fast-forward to build new proteins in the lab have earned three scientists this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Frances Arnold of Caltech won for her method of creating customized enzymes for biofuels, environmentally friendly detergents and other products. She becomes the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry since it was first awarded in 1901. Gregory Winter of the University of Cambridge and George Smith of the University of Missouri in Columbia were recognized for their development and use of a technique called phage display. This molecule-manufacturing process can generate biomolecules for new drugs.
The trio will share the 9-million-Swedish-kronor prize (about $1 million), with Arnold getting half and Winter and Smith splitting the other half. (1)
Analyzing data. Finding new molecules.
Analyzing more data. Finding more molecules.
This is what science is today.
Additions to an existing structure.
Nothing truly magnificent.
Scientists today are builders, not architects.
They may add their own brick to the cathedral.
But they will never have the courage to question its design.
What we need today though are not builders.
What we seek is not a way to make the cathedral taller.
But someone who can judge its foundations.
And tear it down…