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Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics handed to Japanese pair

Kyodo

The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony took place on Thursday evening, with two Japanese scientists receiving this year’s prizes, in medicine and physics.

At a ceremony held in the Stockholm Concert Hall, Satoshi Omura, 80, was given his medal and diploma by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf for his discovery concerning a therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

Omura, a professor emeritus at Kitasato University in Japan, and William Campbell, an Ireland-born research fellow emeritus at Drew University in the United States, shared the prize for discovering a new drug, avermectin.

Tu Youyou, a Chinese national and chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, also won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, a drug against malaria.

Another Japanese scientist, Takaaki Kajita, 56, and Canada’s Arthur McDonald, who won the Nobel Prize in physics, received their prize for their discovery of neutrino oscillations demonstrating that neutrinos have mass.

Kajita is a professor at the University of Tokyo and director of the university’s Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, and McDonald is a professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Canada.

After the ceremony, Omura expressed gratitude to many other individuals involved in developing the drug.

“I owe it to everyone. This drug has come to be used in practice because its efficacy was revealed as a result of the involvement of several hundreds or thousands of people,” he said.

Kajita was relieved that the ceremony ended without any problems. “It’s good that it’s over without any incident,” he said. “I enjoyed it.”

Omura and Kajita brought the total number of Japanese Nobel laureates to 24, including Shuji Nakamura, who was born in Japan and later became an American citizen.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quarter received the Nobel Peace Prize at a separate ceremony in Oslo “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”

In a rare move, Japanese survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were invited to the ceremony as guests.

Emiko Okada, 78, from Hiroshima and Shohei Tsuiki, 88, from Nagasaki attended the event.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    So, whaling, Fukushima contamination, war-crimes denials, turning away refugees, recession, but hey! Two Nobel Prizes! Nationalism trumps reality every time.