This year’s Nobel prize in Physics went to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for their groundbreaking work in the development of blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Walter will tell us how blue and subsequently white LEDs have become a vital energy-saving technology development, what difficulties had to be overcome to realize them, and how serendipity played a role in the key steps to unlock the potential of the key material gallium nitride to achieve them.
Medicine or Physiology:
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014 was awarded in one half to John O’Keefe and the other half to May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for “their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”. Dan will summarize several key studies conducted over decades of neuroscience research on what has now come to be known as the “GPS” of our brain. While the prize was awarded for research performed in rodents, he will detail findings in other animals which suggest, together, that a neural positioning system is a shared and fundamental principle of brain function. Finally, he will discuss how these systems hold clues to human behavior in both health and disease.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”. Andrew will explain how the two approaches pioneered by these researchers have enabled microscopy with extremely high resolution– far beyond the Abbe limit, which fundamentally restricts conventional optical microscopy. He will also discuss the state-of-the-art in super-resolved microscopy and describe some of the ways in which these techniques are making an impact.