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Press Release 08-185

National Science Foundation Congratulates 2008 Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Economics

NSF's support of basic research continues to enhance the contributions of the world's top scientists

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Text: Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize

Credit: National Science Foundation


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Photos and illustration of bioluminescence in a variety of marine organisms.

Bioluminescence is a complex chemical reaction within a cell that results in the release of energy in the form of light. The natural light show can be seen in a wide variety of marine organisms, such as the jellyfish Aequoria victoria. In this species, studied by Osamu Shimomura at Woods Hole Biological Lab, aequorin, which takes its name from the jellyfish, serves as the light emitting chemical. Researchers theorize that this illumination is a form of intra species or interspecies communication. Shimomura and his associates determined the 3-D structure of the photoprotein aequorin. This discovery has proven to be an invaluable tool for researchers studing the roles of calcium in biological processes.

Credit: National Science Foundation


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