Six scientists, three of them American, won Nobel Prizes on Thursday for research into what makes cells go and how to make atoms sit still.
In chemistry, American Paul D. Boyer, John E. Walker of Britain and Jens C. Skou of Denmark were honored for discovering aspects of how the body’s cells store and use energy, a fundamental process that affects everything from the building of bones to the contraction of muscles and the transmission of nerve impulses.
The physics prize went to Americans Steven Chu and William Phillips and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of France for developing ways of trapping atoms of gas and cooling them to within a millionth of a degree of nature’s limit. The discovery has already led to more accurate atomic clocks and a new form of matter whose existence Einstein postulated in the 1920s.
“It’s wonderful,” said Chu, a 49-year-old professor at Stanford University. “I’m delighted to be sharing it with some good friends.” This year’s Nobel prizes are worth $1 million each. The physics prize will be split equally among the three winners.