Society: Arts and Science – September 16


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Sir Ronald Ross, KCB, FRS died on this day in 1932. He was an Indian-born British medical doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. His discovery of the malarial parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of mosquito led to the realisation that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes, and laid the foundation for combating the disease. He was quite a polymath, writing a number of poems, published several novels, and composed songs. He was also an amateur artist and natural mathematician. He worked in the Indian Medical Service for twenty five years. It was during his service that he made the groundbreaking medical discovery. After resigning from his service in India, he joined the faculty of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and continued as Professor and Chair of Tropical Medicine of the institute for ten years. In 1926, he became Director-in-Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which was established in honour of his works. He remained there until his death.
Ludwig Karl Martin Leonhard Albrecht Kossel was born on this date in 1853. He was a German biochemist and pioneer in the study of genetics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1910 for his work in determining the chemical composition of nucleic acids, the genetic substance of biological cells. Kossel isolated and described the five organic compounds that are present in nucleic acid: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. These compounds were later shown to be nucleobases, and are key in the formation of DNA and RNA, the genetic material found in all living cells. Kossel was an important influence on and collaborator with other important researchers in biochemistry, including Henry Drysdale Dakin, Friedrich Miescher, Edwin B. Hart, and his professor and mentor, Felix Hoppe-Seyler. Kossel was editor of the Zeitschrift für Physiologische Chemie (Journal of Physiological Chemistry) from 1895 until his death. Kossel also conducted important research into the composition of protein, and his research predicted the discovery of the polypeptide nature of the protein molecule. The Albrecht Kossel Institute for Neuroregeneration at the University of Rostock is named in his honor.
Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt was born on this date in 1893. He was a Hungarian physiologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. He is credited with discovering vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle. He was also active in the Hungarian Resistance during World War II and entered Hungarian politics after the war.
Frans Eemil Sillanpää was born on this date in 1888. He was one of the most famous Finnish writers and in 1939 became the first Finnish writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.