2015 Nobel Prizes: Mysteries of the Cosmos and Our DNA

24:47 minutes

Nobel fever hit the science world this week, with this year’s awards going to parasite-zapping drugs, a DNA repair kit, and the mystery of missing neutrinos. In this roundup of the winners, Ira talks with chemistry prize recipient Aziz Sancar about his work on DNA damage and repair, a system essential to our survival. Physics winner Arthur McDonald joins to talk about his hunt for missing neutrinos, which revealed that the subatomic particles have mass, contrary to predictions by the Standard Model.

Then, medicine winner Bill Campbell recounts his work sifting through 40,000 microbes to find an anti-parasitic compound. And Peter Agre, a malaria researcher who won the chemistry prize in 2003, joins to tell the story of Chinese winner Tu YouYou, who shares the medicine prize for her work isolating the anti-malarial compound artemisinin.

Segment Guests

Aziz Sancar

Aziz Sancar is a co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry and a distinguished professor in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Arthur McDonald

Arthur McDonald is a co-Winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics and an emeritus professor of physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell is a co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine, a former director of parasitology at Merck and Co., and a professor emeritus at Drew University in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Peter Agre

Peter Agre is a co-winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry. He’s a Bloomberg distinguished professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.