Three researchers based in the US, UK and Switzerland have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developments in electron microscopy.
The 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize is shared by Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, Joachim Frank at New York’s Columbia University and Richard Henderson of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Britain.
The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday their method, called cryo-electron microscopy, allows researchers to “freeze biomolecules” mid-movement and visualize processes they have never previously seen.”
The development, it said, “is decisive for both the basic understanding of life’s chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.”
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry rewards researchers for major advances in studying the infinitesimal bits of material that are the building blocks of life.
Recent prizes have gone to scientists who developed molecular “machines” molecules with controllable motions and who mapped how cells repair damaged DNA, leading to improved cancer treatments.
The 2017 prize was announced Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
It’s the third Nobel announced this week.
The medicine prize went to three Americans studying circadian rhythms: Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. The physics prize went to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for detecting gravitational waves.
The literature winner will be named Thursday and the peace prize will be announced Friday.