Great harvest at the Nobel Prize this year

2000/11/01 Carton Virto, Eider - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

The Nobel Foundation in Stockholm has nominated the 2000 Nobel Prize without any vacancy in October. Three in medicine, three in physics and three in chemistry. The prize will consist of works carried out in the field of neurotransmitters, semiconductor structures and conductive polymers respectively. On the other hand, the Economic Novel James E. Heckman and Daniel L. It has been for Americans McFadden, for South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, and Literature for Chinese Gao Xingjian.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded this year to Arvid Carlsson. Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric R. Together with Kandel will receive the prestigious award. Neurologist Gurutz Linazasoro, of the Quirón Hospital in San Sebastián, considers a Novel deserved because "the works of Carlsson opened in the 60s the door of the remedy for diseases like Parkinson and schizophrenia". The research of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine has served to know the functioning of the brain and understand the basis of certain neurological and psychic diseases. As Linazasoro says, the winners are the reference of all neurologists distributed throughout the world.

Cerebral Messengers Cerebral Messengers

Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds that transport the electrical signal between nerve cells. The information passes from the cell to the cell through areas called synapses and each cell can contain thousands of sites. This year's Nobel Prize winners have analysed some of these broadcasts, soft synaptic transmissions.

Arvid Carlsson discovered in the 1950s that dopamine was a very powerful neurotransmitter. He discovered the importance of dopamine when controlling the movements and prepared a drug against Parkinson. Parkinson patients are affected by nerve cells that produce dopamine, which prevents them from controlling vibration, stiffness, and muscle movement. Patients with schizophrenia have an excess of dopamine in the brain. Clarification of the role of dopamine in the brain has led to the development of schizophrenia and medications to treat depression.

After Carlsson's work, Greengard revealed how dopamine and other transmitters work in the 1960s. These compounds are responsible, among others, for humour, language, movements and sensory perception. Greengard's work has allowed us to know that neurotransmitters provoke a chain reaction in cells and establish a succession of these reactions. Eric Kandel has worked especially in the field of memory. He has discovered the mechanisms that form memory and explained the basic neuronal changes that occur in the learning process.

Physics of Semiconductors

Telecommunications, computers, and information technologies have revolutionized society in a few years and to a large extent is due to the Nobel Prize in Physics this year. Zhores I. Alferov and Herbert Kroemer invented rapid optoelectronic and microelectronic structures - semiconductor heterostructures. Although they will receive the Nobel prize at the same time, each discovery did so separately in the 1960s. From these structures, rapid transistors have been developed in telecommunications satellites and ground mobile telephony stations in the 1970s, and laser diodes have the same base. The diodes emit signal through optical fibers, such as the Internet, and the luminescents serve for the lights of the car brakes. Professor Federico Recart of the ETS of Industrial and Telecommunications Engineers affirms that "heterostructures are important from two points of view: on the one hand, because they allow a higher congestion speed (more information) and on the other, because they have provided the necessary devices to convert the electrical signal into optics". The works of Alferov and Kroemer were the starting point of the technology used in CD-ROM readers and barcodes, so common today.

Jack S. Kilby, the third winner, made an important contribution to modern life as inventor of the computer chip. He developed an integrated circuit with partner Robert Noyce, who died in 1990. They are due to home computers, probes sent to space, washing machines, nuclear magnetic resonance, etc. "The works of Alferov and Kroemer are more related to basic research, since physical concepts were developed mathematically first and then technically. Kilby had the fortunate technological idea, a very simple idea but of great importance. Since then, although the size and characteristics of the devices have changed radically, the monolithic idea that is rewarded has not changed substantially," says Recart.

Chemistry of conductors

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has shown that polymers do not have to be insulating, but, with special conditions, they are able to transport electricity. D. D. Alan Heeger, Hideko Shirakawa and Alan G. MacDiarmid was a pioneer in this field in the late 1970s. Through his research, he consolidated a fund that has then become a wide field of research for chemicals and physicists, today unforgettable.

Any polymer cannot be a driver. To begin with, it is necessary that the molecule has double conjugated links, that is, that between the carbon atoms there is an alternation of double and simple links, and that it is doped at the same time, that is, that it has more or less electrons of which correspond. The electron extraction polymer is oxidized and reduced to add electrons. Thus, in one case the “holes” and in the other the electrons can be moved through the chain of polymers, so electric current is generated.

Conductive polymers are still a first order research topic, as they have interesting applications such as antistatic material or as light plastic when electroluminescent. This feature is applied in photodiodes for the manufacture of bulbs, television screens and luminous circulation signals, as they save more energy and provide less heat than conventional materials.

On the other hand, conductive polymers are closely related to molecular electronics. Thanks to them it will be possible to have in the future transistors and other electronic devices formed by a single molecule. This will bring with it acceleration and reduction of computers. Conductive polymers XXI. They can assume a technological revolution of the twentieth century.

Gai honi buruzko eduki gehiago

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