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Nobel Prize 2022 (Chemistry and Physics)

Oct 11, 2022


Enhance your UPSC CSE preparation with our daily dose of Current Affairs wherein we discuss topics that make news at National and International level. In today's edition, we will talk about the Nobel Prize 2022 (Chemistry and Physics winners).


Recently the Nobel Prize for 2022 has been awarded to certain individuals and organizations, selected by the committees in Sweden and Norway.

About the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022

  • Winners:
    • Carolyn R Bertozzi,
    • Morten Meldal,
    • K Barry Sharpless (he is winning the second Nobel of his career).
  • Basis:
    • They have been awarded for their work in ‘click chemistry‘, a branch of science that explores the assembly of molecules, and for bioorthogonal chemistry.
    • Their work has applications in the field of medical science, including the treatment of cancer.
  • Carolyn R Bertozzi:
    • Bertozzi is based at Stanford University in California.
    • She took click chemistry to a new dimension and began using it to map cells.
    • Bertozzi’s new dimensions could work inside living organisms through ‘bioorthogonal’ reactions (a term she coined), taking place in living systems without interfering with native biochemical processes.
    • Her bioorthogonal reactions are now contributing to more targeted cancer treatments, among many other applications.
  • Morten Meldal:
    •  Meldal is based at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    • Meldal came up with a special chemical structure called ‘triazole’ which has many significant applications.
  • K Barry Sharpless:
    • Sharpless is based at Scripps Research, California.
    • He is the fifth scientist to achieve this distinction for the second time.
    • His previous Nobel Prize had come in 2001 in recognition of a different kind of work.
    • Sharpless came up with the term ‘click chemistry’ and worked extensively on it.
Click Chemistry
• Around the year 2000, K Barry Sharpless coined the concept of click chemistry.
• Click Chemistry is a form of simple and reliable chemistry, where reactions occur quickly and unwanted by-products are avoided.
• Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless, independently of each other, presented what is now the crown jewel of click chemistry: the copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition.
• This chemical reaction is now in widespread use. Among many other uses, it is utilized in the development of pharmaceuticals, for mapping DNA and creating materials that are more fit for purpose.

Bioorthogonal chemistry
• Carolyn Bertozzi gave the concept of Bioorthogonal chemistry or Reactions.
Carolyn Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new level. To map important but elusive biomolecules on the surface of cells, glycans, she developed click reactions that work inside living organisms.
• Her bioorthogonal reactions take place without disrupting the normal chemistry of the cell.
• These reactions are now used globally to explore cells and track biological processes.
• Using bioorthogonal reactions, researchers have improved the targeting of cancer pharmaceuticals, which are now being tested in clinical trials.

About Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

  • Winners:
    • Alain Aspect of France,
    • John Clauser of the US,
    • Anton Zeilinger of Austria
  • Basis:
    • Their experiments have conclusively established that the ‘entanglement’ phenomenon observed in quantum particles was real, not a result of any ‘hidden’ or unknown forces.
    • They have not just made seminal contributions to the foundations of quantum theory but also to efforts that have now enabled the possibility of a wide range of applications.
    • The entanglement phenomenon could be utilized to make transformative technological advances in computing, hack-free communications, and the science fiction-like concept of ‘teleportation’.
Quantum Theory:
• Quantum theory is the theoretical basis of modern physics that explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level.
•Superposition and Entanglement are two key concepts in Quantum Theory.

• The theory allows a particle to exist simultaneously at multiple locations, a phenomenon known as superposition.
• The chance of finding the particle at any given place was dictated by probabilistic calculations, and once it was found, or observed, at one location, it ceased to exist at all other places.

• It is one of the properties exhibited by these tiny particles.
• Two particles, having ‘interacted’ with each other at some stage, were found to have got ‘entangled’ in a way that the behavior of one produced an instantaneous reaction in the other even if the two were connected for a while.
  • Alain Aspect of France:
    • Alain Aspect is credited with vastly improving the set-up of Clauser and removing all the loopholes critics had found.
    • Aspect’s experiments also produced results that violated John Bell’s inequality.
  • John Clauser of the US:
    • The 79-year-old Clauser was the first to set up an experiment to test entanglement.
    • In 1972, his experiments produced results that were a clear violation of Bell’s inequality. But skeptics pointed to certain aspects of the experiment which could have influenced a favorable result.
  • Anton Zeilinger of Austria:
    • Zeilinger demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to ‘teleport’ the quantum states of a particle to another location without the particle moving anywhere and without a medium.

News Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

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