Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Nobel Prizes

Friday, November 5, 2010


Nobel Prize for Physics
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has given the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2010 to Andre Geim (University of Manchester, UK) and Konstantin Novoselov (University of Manchester, UK) “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”

Graphene is a form of carbon. As a material it is completely new – not only the thinnest ever but also the strongest. As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper. As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it. Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again.

Geim and Novoselov extracted the graphene from a piece of graphite such as is found in ordinary pencils. Using regular adhesive tape they managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom. This at a time when many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable.

However, with graphene, physicists can now study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties. Graphene makes experiments possible that give new twists to the phenomena in quantum physics.  Graphene transistors are predicted to be substantially faster than today’s silicon transistors and result in more efficient computers.
Since it is practically transparent and a good conductor, graphene is suitable for producing transparent touch screens, light panels, and maybe even solar cells.

When mixed into plastics, graphene can turn them into conductors of electricity while making them more heat resistant and mechanically robust.
In the future, satellites, airplanes, and cars could be manufactured out of the new composite materials.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Chemistry was the most important science for Alfred Nobel’s own work. The development of his inventions as well as the industrial processes he employed were based upon chemical knowledge. Chemistry was the second prize area that Nobel mentioned in his will. In 1901 the very first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jacobus H. van 't Hoff

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki share the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing new, more efficient ways of linking carbon atoms together to build the complex molecules that are improving our everyday lives.

They are awarded for for the development of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling. This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals, for example carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself.

Carbon-based (organic) chemistry is the basis of life and is responsible for numerous fascinating natural phenomena: colour in flowers, snake poison and bacteria killing substances such as penicillin. Organic chemistry has allowed man to build on nature's chemistry; making use of carbon’s ability to provide a stable skeleton for functional molecules. This has given mankind new medicines and revolutionary materials such as plastics.

In order to create these complex chemicals, chemists need to be able to join carbon atoms together. However, carbon is stable and carbon atoms do not easily react with one another.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling solved that problem and provided chemists with a more precise and efficient tool to work with. In the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, whereupon their proximity to one another kick-starts the chemical reaction.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling is used in research worldwide, as well as in the commercial production of for example pharmaceuticals and molecules used in the electronics industry.

Nobel Prize in Medicine
Robert Edwards is awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for the development of human in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy. His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10% of all couples worldwide.

In vitro fertilization is a technology that allows a woman's egg to be fertilized outside of her body and then returned to her womb for maturation and birth of the child. Approximately four million children have so far been born using IVF.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010
Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Spanish-speaking world, won the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature.
The Swedish Academy said it honored the 74-year-old author “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.” Vargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature since it was awarded to Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China.  The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Nobel Prize for Economic Science
Why are so many people unemployed at the same time that there are a large number of job openings? How can economic policy affect unemployment? 
This year's Laureates in Economic Sciences, Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides, have created mathematical models which provide the framework for studying how such processes occur in the real world.This theory is also applicable to markets other than the labor market
Peter A. Diamond
Dale T. Mortensen
Christopher A. Pissarides
Markets with search costs
On many markets, buyers and sellers do not always make contact with one another immediately. This concerns, for example, employers who are looking for employees and workers who are trying to find jobs. Since the search process requires time and resources, it creates frictions in the market. On such search markets, the demands of some buyers will not be met, while some sellers cannot sell as much as they would wish. Simultaneously, there are both job vacancies and unemployment on the labor market.

This year's three Laureates have formulated a theoretical framework for search markets. Peter Diamond has analyzed the foundations of search markets. Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides have expanded the theory and have applied it to the labor market. The Laureates' models help us understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies, and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy. This may refer to benefit levels in unemployment insurance or rules in regard to hiring and firing. One conclusion is that more generous unemployment benefits give rise to higher unemployment and longer search times.

Search theory has been applied to many other areas in addition to the labor market. This includes, in particular, the housing market. The number of homes for sale varies over time, as does the time it takes for a house to find a buyer and the parties to agree on the price. Search theory has also been used to study questions related to monetary theory, public economics, financial economics, regional economics, and family economics.

Mawsynram, 9 km from

Mawsynram, 9 km from Sohra, more famous by its erstwhile name Cherrapunjee, is the wettest place on earth. Over the last few years, it received an average rainfall of 467.4 inches of rain. Both these places are in Meghalaya. Now, Mawsynram’s position is under challenge from a mountain in Hawaii.

Sohra, which receives 450 inches of rain annually, is not even the second-wettest place on earth.
It has been upstaged by Mount Waialelale on the Hawaii Islands, which gets 460 inches of rain every year. The US has been pushing Mt Waialeale for quite some time now. It rains almost every day, albeit lightly, on that 5,148 ft mount owing to marine conditions. But the fact is, Sohra and Mawsynram record more rainfall during the monsoon and while the rainfall area on Mt Waialeale is 5 sq km, Sohra-Mawsynram is over 200 sq km.

Meteorologists agree that Sohra has been recording less rainfall in recent years- 11,414.6 mm or 449.4 inches in 2008 compared to 14,790.8 mm or 582.31 inches in 2004. Ditto with Mawsynram, where rainfall records are maintained periodically. There isn’t much deviation in the average annual rainfall but the spread is less. Deforestation has turned much of the Sohra area into a rocky, barren expanse, and this could eventually dent Mawsynram’s record. Along with local organisations, green measures are being promoted in the area. The Khasi Students’ Union, too, is pulling its weight to help Sohra regain its rainier-than-Mt Waialeale record.

Ecologists are blaming it on global warming and on local factors like deforestation and limestone quarrying. But they aren’t ready to concede “defeat” yet.

Country - Game

USA - Baseball
Spain - Bulls Fighting
Canada - Ice Hockey
India - Hockey
Russia - Football, Chess
China - Table Tennis
Brazil - Football
France - Football
England - Cricket
Japan - Judo
Australia - Cricket
Pakistan - Hockey
Malaysia - BadMinton
Scotland - Rugby Football
Indonesia - Badminton
Bhutan - Archery

Games - No. of Players in a Team

Baseball - 9
Rugby Football - 15
Polo - 4
Water Polo - 7
Kho-Kho - 9
Kabbaddi - 7
Hockey - 11
Football - 11
Cricket - 11
Volleyball- 6
Tennis - 1 or 2 (Mixed also)
Table tennis - 1 or 2 ((Mixed also)
Basket Ball - 5
Gymnastic - 8
Chess - 2

Games - No. of Players in a Team

Baseball - 9
Rugby Football - 15
Polo - 4
Water Polo - 7
Kho-Kho - 9
Kabbaddi - 7
Hockey - 11
Football - 11
Cricket - 11
Volleyball- 6
Tennis - 1 or 2 (Mixed also)
Table tennis - 1 or 2 ((Mixed also)
Basket Ball - 5
Gymnastic - 8
Chess - 2

Ground - Games

Ground - Games
Diamond - Baseball
Course - Golf
Board - Table Tennis
Mat - Judo
Velodrome - Cycling
Track - Athletics
Range - Archery, Shooting
Court - Tennis, Badminton, Netball, handball, volleyball, kabbaddi, kho-kho, squash
Ring - Scatting, Boxing
Pool - Swimming
Alley - Bowling
Arena - Horse Riding
Field - Polo, Football, Hockey
Pitch - Cricket, Rugby
Rink - Curling, Ice Hockey
Greens - Bowls