Eight years ago when Eduardo Kac commissioned the creation of a fluorescent rabbit I thought, “Hey, that’s the kind of science I can get behind.” It’s science + art; what’s there not to like?
Although I’m sure it makes night life hard for green glowing bunnies.
Today, three U.S based scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry because of their work with the fluorescent protein that comes from a jelly fish.
Three scientists-Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Tsien-will share this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on green fluorescent protein (GFP), the Nobel Foundation announced today.
The discovery and development of GFP has also allowed scientists to study animal cells without having to take them out of the body, “putting us on the brink of being able to treat diseases that decades ago we thought it wouldn’t be possible to treat,” Frangioni said. “We use the technology to study cancer and how it metastasizes, how genes are turned on and off and how proteins in a cell behave after stimulation.”
Trying to study and treat cancer is noble work, to be sure, but something tells me there’s a business man out there trying to hustle this discovery into making a line of neon pets. You’ll never lose your kitty again.
Maybe I’m just too American in my outlook which is probably why I’m not in the running for a Nobel Prize for literature (that and I have yet to finish my novel). But I’m not alone, Phillip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates (who writes all the time; she has a book come out every year) won’t be getting a phone call tomorrow either.
“Europe is still the center of the literary world,” Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy said. Engdahl believes that American writers are “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture.”
He added: “The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining.”
Perhaps our economic outlook extends globally but when it comes to our outlook on the world maybe we are too parochial.
Or maybe it’s them.