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Sounding Smart with SmartNews: Your Cheat Sheet to the Nobels

Here, in Twitter-sized bites, are descriptions of the work that won the Nobel this week

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We’re all thinking it. Author Gary Shteyngart is just brave enough to say it:

Some of the smartest people in the world were honored by the Nobel Committee this week and, uh, what did they do again?

Here, in Twitter-sized bites, are descriptions of the work that won the Nobel this week:

Medicine:

John Gurdon made a tadpole from a frog’s intestine cell, before anyone believed in stem cells.

Shinya Yamanaka figured out how to convince an adult cell to turn into any type of tissue cell. No embryonic cells needed!

Physics:

Serge Haroche & David Wineland study tiny quantum particles. Haroche: “I use atoms to study the photons and he uses photons to study atoms.”

(Bonus: Why didn’t the Higgs boson research win? Too soon.)

Chemistry:

Receptors move hormones and other chemicals across cell walls. Everyone assumed they existed. Robert Lefkowitz & Brian Kobilka proved it.

Literature:

Mo Yan is provocative: he has a novel called Big Breasts & Wide Hips. But not too provocative: China’s government thinks he’s alright.

Peace:

The committee went a little Oprah by honoring the EU: “You get a Nobel Prize and you get a Nobel Prize and you get a Nobel Prize!”

Can anyone out there do better? We’re open to suggestions — we’ve got parties to go to, too!

More from Smithsonian.com:

More Chocolate, More Nobels
The Nobel Prize With the Most Frequent Flier Miles

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About Sarah Laskow
Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor of Smart News. Her work has appeared in print and online for Grist, GOODSalon, The American Prospect, Newsweek, New York among other publications.

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