middle  Nobel Laureates

 
Thu. Aug 28 2014

Those professors and/or graduates from Case Western Reserve University
who have been awarded the highest professional honor in the world:

The Nobel Prize

Research at CWRU
CWRU Legacies of Science
Biology Hall
Anne and M. Roger
Clapp Hall
Michelson-Morley
Fountain
The Rockefeller
Physical Laboratory
Frank and Dorothy
Hovorka
John Schoff Millis
Science Center
Andrew E. Schmitt
Auditorium
Home
df
Berg, Paul - Chemistry
Olah, George A - Chemistry.
Kusch, Polykarp - Physics
Glaser, Donald A - Physics.
Macleod, John J.R.- Medicine/Phisiology
Hitchings, George - Medicine/Phisiology
Gilman, Alfred G .- Medicine/Phisiology
Murad, Ferid - Medicine/Phisiology
Frederick C. Robbins- Medicine/Phisiology
Sutherland, Earl W. Jr.- Medicine/Phisiology
Chemistry  
   

 

 

 

 

 



back to top

Berg, Paul (1926 - )

Paul Berg, who received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Western Reserve University in 1952, received the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA. Nucleic acids occur in all living cells and carry vital genetic information. Berg's pioneering genetic engineering research into isolated genes led him to develop recombinant-DNA techniques, techniques that enabled him to combine parts of the DNA from different species.

He was the first scientists to construct a recombinant-DNA molecule.Berg admits that biochemistry was his first love

"Something about understanding living things fascinated me and motivated me. I find it one of the greatest challenges for us to understand living things not just for its practical importance, in being able to do something about disease, but to understand the very essence of what a living cell is like, and what controls it and what its genes are like."

Nobel e-Museum Listing

 
a a a
d
a
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



back to top

Olah, George A. (1927-)

Professor and chair of the chemistry department of Case Western Reserve University (1965-77), George A. Olah received the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution to the study of carbocations. Carbocations, a class of carbon-containing molecules that exist only fleetingly in the course of a reaction, were assumed to be impossible to be studied or produced in large quantities because of their "short lifespans."

Olah learned how to prolong their lives and discovered much about their structure and behavior. His work led to many patents for novel processes, many of them involving the improvement of fuels. To form carbocations, Olah dissolved hydrocarbon compounds (combinations of hydrogen and carbon) in cold superacids, which are powerful mixtures of strong acids. Atoms and molecules vibrate more slowly in cold materials, and all chemical reactions go more slowly.

Olah's carbocations survived for weeks and months, rather than fractions of a second. In the investigations made possible by this lengthening of life, he discovered that carbon atoms could behave in unexpected ways - for example, linking to other atoms by more than the four bonds long known to conventional chemistry.

Nobel e-Museum Listing

 
Physics
 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


back to top

Michelson, Albert Abraham (1852-1931)

"I like to work with these things because of the fun I get out of them. There is also a practical end in the study of pure science. I am proud to have been connected to Case School of Applied Science and of having helped to establish courses, which are still standard today. I hope that you, as engineers, will always emphasize and encourage pure science. It seems to me that scientific research should be regarded as a painter regards his art, a poet his poems, and a composer his music." - Albert A. Michelson

The first professor of physics at Case School of Applied Science, Albert A. Michelson was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in Physics for his adaptation of the laws of light interference and the creation of precise measuring instruments. His prize was the first science award made to an American. His early experiments determined the speed of light to an unequaled degree of accuracy, and demonstrated that the core of the earth is molten. He was the first to measure the diameter of a distant star. Michelson's research with Western Reserve University's Edward W. Morley - known as the Michelson-Morley Experiment - facilitated the birth of modern physics by showing that the speed of light was unaffected by the Earth's movement through space. Their discovery, one of the outstanding scientific achievements of the 19th century, was integral to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

Robert S. Shankland's Address at dedication of Memorial Boulder
"For many years the world's scientists had believed that the world was enveloped in "ether" which would impede the speed of light. The two men showed that light traveled at the same speed whether in the same direction of the earth's motion or the opposite direction."

Memorial Plaque Inscription on Boulder in front of Crawford
Near this spot, in July 1887, Dr. Albert A. Michelson of Case and Dr. Edward W. Morley of Western Reserve conducted the world-famous Michelson-Morley Experiment, one of the outstanding scientific achievements of the 19th century, and a cornerstone of modern physics, in commemoration, this tablet has been set in stone by both colleges on December 19, 1952, the 100th anniversary of Dr. Michelson's birth.

"It was you [Michelson] who led physicists into new path, and through your marvelous experiment work paved the way for the development of the theory of relativity." - Albert Einstein

"This work of Michelson, equally great through the bold and clear formulation of the problem as through the ingenious way by which he reached the very great required precision of measurement, is his immortal contribution to scientific knowledge. I always think of Michelson as the artist in Science. His greatest joy seems to come from the beauty of the experiment itself, and the elegance of the method employed." - Albert Einstein

"In everything he did, whether it was work or play, he was an artist, he took equal delight in finding the cause of the iridescence of the butterfly's wing and in conducting the ether-drift experiments by which he laid the experimental foundation for the theory of relativity. To him values were not measured by the acclaim of the world. To his friends he was like the sea on a summer's day - serene, illimitable, unfathomable." - Albert Einstein

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


back to top

Reines, Frederick (1918-1998)

"I like very much the general idea of being involved in teaching and it appeared to me that the department here was a good one and had a promising future"
[Reines on coming to CWRU. Reines had not been disappointed. He received the support that he had anticipated - from the Case administration, from the government, from foundations.]

"It has just been absolutely wonderful and very stimulating."
- Frederick Reines

The neutrino is a fundamental particle that is extremely resistant to interaction with other particles and has virtually no mass - making it nearly impossible to detect. Professor and chair of physics at the Case Institute of Technology (1959-66), Frederick Reines received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering experimental contributions to lepton physics and for the detection of the elusive neutrino.

Reines discovered neutrinos in the Earth's atmosphere. They were produced by high-speed collisions between particles in the atmosphere and cosmic rays from the depts of space. By nature, neutrinos cannot react with ordinary substances, therefore they are constantly passing through the Earth and even through people. In college, a career in music appeared to be on the horizon, but his fascination with science won out, Dr. Reines recalled, perhaps because of an idle moment one afternoon in school.

He was looking out of the window at twilight through a hand curled to simulate a telescope "I noticed something peculiar about the light. It was the phenomenon called diffraction - the spreading out of light waves as they pass by the edge of an obstacle or through an opening - that began for me a fascination with light."


nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   







 










 


back to top

Kusch, Polykarp (1911-1993)

"Your telegram was one of the first to arrive and since Case Institute has been an important part of my life, I felt proud to have it," Polykarp Kusch in response to a letter of Nobel congrats from Robert Shankland.

"This is obviously a time when I engaged in considerable introspection about the happy combination of factors and circumstances that have brought me where I am. My debt to Case Institute is very great indeed. The years I spent were obviously important ones and a spirit of enthusiasm for science and a taste for inquiry into science was certainly developed at Case. I hoped this does not sound pompous, but my awareness of what Case did for me is very sharp," Polykarp Kusch's comments upon receiving the Nobel Prize.

Polykarp Kusch received the 1955 Nobel Prize in Physics for the precise determination of the magnetic moment of the electron. He received his B.S. in physics from the Case School of Applied Sciences and is the first CWRU alumnus to receive a Nobel Prize. Kusch's research on electrons' magnetic strength resulted in major modifications to atomic theory and was fundamental to the understanding of the atom.

His work reshaped the theory of interactions of the electron and quantum electrodynamics (QED).

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   














back to top

Glaser, Donald A. (1926-)

Akin to the beautiful white streaks which are left against the sky by a high-flying jet airplane, Donald A. Glaser's bubble chamber uses a visual method in order to expose the trails of high-speed atoms. Glaser, who received his B.S. in Physics from the Case School of Applied Sciences (1946), received the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the bubble chamber used in the study of high-energy nuclear interactions and its development into a useful research tool.

The bubble chamber, using liquid hydrogen at a low temperature, is a basic component of almost all high-energy physics experiments, and has been the instrument of detection of many strange new particles and phenomena. Glaser's bubble chamber allows scientists to photograph trails left by high-speed atoms traveling through super-heated liquids. It is considered to be one of the most powerful tools devised for the extension of research in high-energy physics.

nobel e-museum listing

 
Medicine or Physiology    
   














 

 

 





back to top

Macleod, John James Richard (1876-1935)

1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine or PhysiologyProfessor and chair of physiology at Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1903-18), John J.R. Macleod received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for the discovery of insulin - one of the most controversial Nobel prizes made in the history of the award.

The introduction of insulin into clinical medicine in the early 1920s ranks as one of the greatest achievements in modern medicine, having brought life and untold benefit to millions of diabetics worldwide. Before insulin, treatment for diabetes was ad hoc and desperate. Sodium bicarbonate or even opium was administered, and often the popular method of treatment was a "starvation diet" meant to lower the intake of sugar. Diabetes results from a lack of insulin, secreted by the pancreas. Without insulin, carbohydrates cannot be used to fuel metabolism and are excreted.As professor of physiology at Western Reserve University, John J.R. Macleod studied "caisson sickness."

Caisson sickness afflicted workmen laboring in the high atmospheric pressure of a submerged caisson when building an underwater tunnel. If they emerged too quickly, without a gradual decompression, they suffered the "bends," caused by an effervescence of nitrogen in the blood and tissues. Divers also experience these problems when resurfacing too rapidly from great depths. The compression chamber that Dr. Macleod used for his research can be found at the Dittrick Medical History Center in the Allen Memorial Library on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   

















back to top 

Hitchings, George H. (1905-)

"I am more pleased for my descendants than I am for myself. I've had lots of honors, but the most important honors for me have been meeting patients whose lives have been saved or whose children's lives have been saved by drugs I've invented."

George H. Hitchings was a senior instructor in Western Reserve University's Department of Biochemistry (1939-42), and emerged as one of the most productive of modern chemical pharmacologists. Hitchings' pioneering research garnered him the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for the development of drugs to combat AIDS, herpes, leukemia, and several other serious diseases.

His herpes research developed the first effective drug against any virus. Hitchings' work broke new ground in finding the difference in the processing of genetic material between normal human cells, cancer cells, protozoa, bacteria, and virus. Knowing these differences allowed researchers to attack disease-causing organisms by interfering with their replication without harming healthy ones.

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   


















back to top

Gilman, Alfred G. (1941-)

A scientific researcher who made important discoveries about how living cells communicate with each other and respond to outside influences, Alfred G. Gilman received his M.D. and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Case Western Reserve University in 1969. He received the 1994 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering G-proteins and the role of these proteins in the signal transduction in cells.

Gilman proved that substances known as G-proteins help relay the signals a cell receives from other cells or from forces outside the body, such as light or odors. G-proteins are so named because they bind to a compound called guanosine triphosphate, one of the smaller chemical units that make up DNA. Researchers have linked abnormal G-proteins to cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.

Alfred G. Gilman has said that he owed a major debt to another Case Western Reserve University professor and Nobel laureate Earl W. Sutherland, Jr. Sutherland's pioneering studies in cellular signaling at Case Western Reserve University enabled Gilman to expand on Sutherland's findings and to discover G-proteins.

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


back to top

Murad, Ferid (1936-)

Ferid Murad's research into the properties of nitrc oxide - a colorless, odorless gas produced by many types of body cells - led to the discovery that nitric oxide acts as a messenger to tell blood vessels to relax and widen, thus lowering blood pressure. Ferid Murad received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.

Murad's research found that the cardiovascular system uses nitric oxide to regulate blood pressure, widen blood vessels, fight infection, prevent blood clot formations and signal the nervous system.

His discovery, regarded as one of the most important in the history of cardiovascular medicine, has stimulated thousands of scientific papers and helped with the development of many groundbreaking pharmaceuticals. The practical applications of his research range from the ability to treat heart disease and shock to reducing the possibility of a life-threatening condition in premature babies called pulmonary hypertension.

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   



















back to top  

Frederick C. Robbins (1916-)

In 1954, Frederick Robbins entered Bunce Bros. men's store on Shaker Square in search of a black tuxedo to buy. The young salesman who waited on his was startled, since someone actually buying a tuxedo was exceedingly rare. "What did you do, win the Nobel Prize?" the salesman cracked irreverently. As a matter of fact, he had. Robbins informed the salesman that he was going to Stockholm for the ceremony. After a moment of stunned silence, the salesman removed his foot from his mouth and found Robbins a find tuxedo to take along on the Queen Elizabeth into the annals of medical history.

Dean and professor of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1952-87), Frederick C. Robbins received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue. Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It reached epidemic proportions in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1952, more than 57,600 Americans contracted polio.

Robbins' research established that the poliovirus can multiply outside of nerve tissue and, in fact, exists in the extraneural tissues of the body, only later attacking the lower section of the brain and parts of the spinal cord. This discovery allowed researchers to grow the poliovirus in various tissue cultures, and led to the development of effective vaccines that eradicated polio.

nobel e-museum listing

 
a a a a a
   














 

 



back to top

Sutherland, Earl W. Jr. (1915-1974)

Professor and chair in pharmacology at the Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1956-63), Edward W. Sutherland, Jr. received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his discoveries concerning mechanisms of the action of hormones.

Sutherland's work revealed a new chemical intermediary called cAMP, cyclic adenyl acid - a chemical involved in the formation of body organs - and showed how cAMP participates in a wide range of biochemical and physiological control and regulatory mechanisms. Sutherland was originally working on the way in which the hormone adrenaline effects an increase in the amount of glucose in the blood. He and his fellow researchers found that the hormone stimulated the release of the enzyme adenyl cyclase into liver cells.

This, in turn, converts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into cyclic AMP, which then intiates the complex chain converting the glycogen stored in the liver into glucose in the blood. The significance of this reaction is that adrenaline does not act directly on the molecules in the liver cell; it apparently needs and calls for what is now described as a "second messenger," cyclic AMP. His groundbreaking research, conducted at Case Western Reserve University, deciphered the role of cAMP in the functioning of adrenaline and glucagons, hormones produced by the liver and pancreas.

nobel e-museum listing