The Nobel Prize in medicine was jointly awarded to researcher Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain on Monday in Stockholm, Sweden. The pair was responsible for a discovery that led to a key understanding of the use of stem cells and how they can be reprogrammed. The prize committee from Stockholm’s Karonlinska institute stated in the awarding that Yamanaka and Gurdon’s discoveries have revolutionized the understanding of how both cells and organisms develop.
Yamanaka and Gurdon found out that stem cells can serve as kind of blank slate, which can then be transformed into any other kind of cell, leading to the regrowing of damaged organs. This development has led to a new set of tools for scientists and doctors around the world to study and make their own progress with. The award for medicine was the first Nobel Prize to be awarded, with categories of physics, chemistry, chemistry, and the Peace Prize to follow throughout this week.
In June of this year, Yamanaka was also a co-winner of the Millennium Technology Prize with Linus Torvalds. As the world’s largest technology prize, it was awarded by Torvalds’ home country of Finland. Yamanaka was recognized for his stem cell discoveries once more, while Torvalds was awarded for his development of the open-source computer operating system known as Linux, which has gone on to be used in millions of computers around the world.
[via The Republic]