The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Frances H. Arnold of the California Institute of Technology and the other half jointly to George P. Smith of the University of Missouri and Gregory P. Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Arnold’s work is on the directed evolution of enzymes to synthesize everything from pharmaceuticals to biofuels to crop protections for agriculture. NSF supported Arnold through many awards over the course of three decades, including a Presidential Young Investigators Award in 1989 (8957118). Smith developed a way to use viruses to infect bacteria, and Winter applied that knowledge to direct changes in antibodies to make new therapeutic treatments. NSF provided funding to Smith to encourage students to integrate mathematics and the life sciences (0928053).
NSF-Supported Chemistry Laureates
NSF News Release: Statement on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems” and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses”. Laser physics is a field for which NSF investments have had significant impact. NSF made several grants to Mourou and his collaborators, including funds to support a biological physics facility at the University of Rochester and two centers at the University of Michigan, the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (originally an NSF Science and Technology Center) and the FOCUS Physics Frontier Center. NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding also helped transition technology developed in Mourou›s labs to commercial applications, including a transformative new approach to LASIK eye surgery.
NSF-Supported Physics Laureates
NSF News Release: Statement on the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018