Prof. Shechtman, chairman of the Wolf Foundation, also tells about the ratio of one-third of Wolf laureates in the respective fields who subsequently win the Nobel, and why there are such large differences in the gaps. The crisper, like the nitroglycerin can be used for good things, but also cause damage in the wrong hands.
"Roger Penrose has an indirect connection to my discovery, the chemistry laureates developed the equivalent of Nobel's explosive." This is what the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Prof. Dan Shechtman, says in an interview with the website Hidan following the Nobel week. Prof. Schechtman serves as the chairman of the Wolf Foundation, three of whose winners received the Nobel Prize this year, thus maintaining the balance of over a third of the winners in the overlapping fields who later receive the Nobel Prize. Prof. Shechtman is one of the examples of the winner of both awards.
The three are Prof. Roger Penrose, one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics and the two winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Emmanuel Charpentier and Jennifer Daunda.
"Penrose is a tremendous multi-talented scientist with very significant contributions in many areas of mathematics and physics. He is English, from the University of Oxford. He received the Wolf Prize together with the late Prof. Stephen Hawking in 1988 and just now won the Nobel together with two scientists who observationally proved the existence of the massive black hole at the center of the galaxy, Prof. Reinhart Genzel and Prof. Andrea Gass. In the case of Penrose, the gap of 32 years between the two awards is perhaps clear. The Nobel Prize is given after the field has been proven both theoretically and observationally. This was the case in previous cases, for example the Higgs boson.
"Penrose, together with Stephen Hawking, developed significant theories in relation to black holes that were proven over the years to be correct and a solid basis for understanding the thermodynamics of black holes. We saw the importance of Penrose's and Hawking's developments in 1988 many years before. True, we gave the award before there was experimental proof. The reason for this was that many researchers based themselves on their theory to develop the subject. They were the basis, and that's why they were so important."
With the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the situation was different. Emmanuel Charpertia and Jennifer Daunda won the Wolf Prize this year - 2020. They could not come to receive it as is customary at the ceremony in the Knesset, and the Wolf Foundation hopes that they will be able to do so in the middle of 2021.
"Charpentier works at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and Daunda in California. They did something amazing. They tested bacteria and found how they overcome viruses that come to kill them. It became clear to them that the DNA of the bacterium has parts that match the genetic material of the virus and these parts can cut the DNA of the virus and thus eliminate it. The winners developed the tool that allows us to do the same. And today it can be said that this is the discovery that brings us closer to the way in which God (for those who believe) created life. They gave us a tool for precise editing of the genome."
"Unlike Penrose who talks about things that will not directly affect our lives apart from broadening our understanding of the universe, Charpentier and Deonde gave us a very practical tool that is already being used to improve the resistance of plants and make them immune to disease. We inoculate the DNA of the plant that will overcome diseases and the plants grow and are immune to diseases that in the past destroyed huge crops. It already improves the food supply.”
But Prof. Shechtman suggests adding a note of warning: "The tool for cutting DNA is a tool that, if in the wrong hands, is extremely dangerous because if someone starts changing people, and that happens, we're in trouble." This tool is a powerful tool, it can be used for the benefit of the human race and it can be used for the detriment of the human race, which is why it is so important that it be in responsible and reliable hands that you can trust. It cannot be guaranteed."
When Alfred Nobel developed the widespread use of nitroglycerin he felt guilty for putting a terrible tool in the hands of humans. The tool is used for mines but also for building explosives that kill people. In fact, it can be said that the discovery of the crisper is similar in principle to the discovery for which Nobel established the Nobel Prize as a kind of apology to the world. Both researchers did the same. They created a tremendous explosive in medicine and biology, a great explosive that is the basis for curing cancer but the dangers of the discovery are beside the point.
But like any technology, you have to act carefully, as when working with an electric saw you don't push your hands into the area of operation, or a fire that can help cook but also cause burns. The same here, you need to use Crisper wisely.
More of the topic in Hayadan:
- The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the scientists who developed the CRISPR "genetic numbers" immediately after the Wolf award
- Roger Penrose and the two black hole detectors at the center of the galaxy won the Nobel Prize in Physics
- "Without the observations of Ganzel and Gas, the whole subject of black holes would have remained theoretical"