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October 4, 2006
Another Chemistry Prize for Biology
As everyone will have heard, Roger Kornberg has been awarded the chemistry Nobel for his work on RNA polymerase. This is certainly deserved, since his lab has been working on this important area for years, gradually zooming in on the enzyme's structure and function through biological and X-ray methods.
But he wasn't on anyone's short list to win the Chemistry prize, and I doubt if Kornberg considers himself a chemist. For some time now, the Nobel people have been using the prize as an overflow from the Medicine/Physiology area, which this morning led Paul Bracher over at the Endless Frontier blog to call for chemistry to colonize the Physics prize. Kornberg wasn't on his long list of candidates with odds, because most everyone on his list was, well, a chemist.
But it is nice to have another enzyme-studying Kornberg from Stanford with a Nobel. Arthur Kornberg is still alive, and still publishing papers as of a few years ago. I hope he's in good enough health to enjoy his son's achievement.
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