Nobel Prizes for Science and Peace

Brains and minds get big recognition this year


Courtesy MCT Campus Service

Malala Yousafzai, arrives for an appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.

On Monday three people were nominated for a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for finding out how the brain knows where its going. John O’Keefe, Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Center in Neural Circuits and Behaviors in the University of London, and two Norwegian scientist, May-Britt Moser, and her husband, Edward Moser, who both works for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, have worked on the project, separately, over thirty years. Their groundbreaking work may be a possible solution for curing, or at least helping prevent, certain diseases that effect the brain, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor O’Keefe had found the beginning piece of the puzzle in nineteen-seventy-one with mice; he theorized that certain cells in the in the brain help create a 2D map of a room or any area. In 2005, the two doctor Mosers found, using mice again, found that the brain seems to use a sort of grid to find its way around and a sort of spatial pattern (a math equation that is used in signal making and additive components) for walls and/or other borders of any given space.

The Nobel Peace prize committee in Oslo, Norway also announced that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest person ever to win that prestigious award.  The young woman was the target of a Taliban attack in her home country of Pakistan, being shot in the face and neck for the supposed crime of attending a school for girls.  Yousafzai, since her recovery in England, has been an outspoken champion of rights for children, especially in education, and she will receive approximately $1 million along with the title. Her award is shared with Kailash Satyarthi of India, a man reknowned for his work along the same lines.