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New York / Heidelberg, 16 October 2012

Springer authors among the 2012 Nobel Laureates

Nobel Prizes in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics awarded to outstanding scientists

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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka. Both researchers played a key role in the discovery that mature cells of a specialized cell type (e.g. nerve cells) can be reprogrammed to become ‘pluripotent’ stem cells (iPS cells). These pluripotent cells can develop into any type of cell or tissue of an organism. Sir John B. Gurdon demonstrated this in an experiment back in the 1960s in which an unborn frog made up entirely of specialized cells developed into a complete and viable tadpole. This meant that all of the pluripotent information contained in the stem cells must still be complete in the specialized cells. His research results were published in Springer journals such as the Journal of Biosciences and Development Genes and Evolution and the book series Methods in Molecular Biology. In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka became the first researcher to transform mature cells into iPS cells actively in an artificial process, reprogramming skin cells in mice to become pluripotent stem cells. The results of his experiments were published in journals such as BMC Development Biology and in the book series Methods in Molecular Biology. Springer also recently published the book Nuclear Reprogramming and Stem Cells, in which Shinya Yamanaka and two co-authors compiled the developments and results of stem cell research over the past 50–60 years.
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland. The researchers conducted separate experiments in which they both managed to isolate and observe single particles of light and matter to investigate the quantum properties of the particles. Practical experiments of this kind were long thought to be impossible to conduct, as it is very difficult to isolate elementary particles from their surroundings and they lose their quantum properties as soon as they interact with the outside world. Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland were each able to develop a new method allowing isolated particles to be observed, controlled and counted without losing their quantum properties. Serge Haroche published a number of articles on the subject in the European Physical Journal series and wrote several chapters for the Springer book series Lecture Notes in Physics. The research results of David J. Wineland were published in particular in the Springer journals Hyperfine Interactions and Applied Physics A + B.
Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The two researchers discovered how cells can sense their environment. For a long time, scientists presumed that they did so through so-called receptors with which cells can react to hormones, but the details remained obscured. Robert J. Lefkowitz finally managed to demonstrate various receptors using radioactivity: He discovered them in the cell walls, and the receptor for adrenalin (β-adrenergic receptor) in particular helped him gain a basic understanding of how they work. He published several articles on his research results in Springer journals such as the Journal of Membrane Biology and Molecular Neurobiology. Brian K. Kobilka continued this work by isolating the β-adrenergic receptor from the complex human genome. While analyzing the receptor, he discovered that there must be a large number of these receptors that look alike and function in the same way. The results of his research work were published in journals such as Mammalian Genome and in book chapters, e.g., in the Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology, and test protocols appeared in the Springer series Methods in Molecular Biology. The research by Lefkowitz and Kobilka showed that all these receptors are part of the family of G-protein-coupled receptors. They allow us to sense light, flavors, odors, adrenalin, etc. and are responsible for the effect of half of all medications.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to the U.S. scholars Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley for their work on stable allocations and the design of markets. Lloyd S. Shapley worked on the theoretical background, using cooperative game theory to match different agents to each other. Thus students can be matched to suitable universities, and patients to suitable donor organs, for example. The challenge lies not merely in matching agents, but in ensuring that a match is stable. Hence the agents are not assigned arbitrarily but instead are matched in such a way that at the end each has found the best possible partner. This also prevents attempts at manipulating the process, as none of the participants can find a better partner than the one he or she has been assigned. Springer has published numerous articles by Lloyd S. Shapley on his research results in the International Journal of Game Theory. Alvin E. Roth used this theory as the basis for his empirical studies, the results of which have been published in Springer journals such as Economic Theory, the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty and Experimental Economics. The first book that Roth wrote, Axiomatic Models of Bargaining, was published by Springer in 1979. Through the ongoing project Springer Book Archives, the book, which was previously out of print, will be available again in the near future.
All together, Springer’s authors and editors include over 200 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, peace and economics.

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Ann Koebler, tel. +49 6221 4878414, ann.koebler@springer.com