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The Nobel Foundation has announced on Monday this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine. Robert G. Edwards, famous for his “test tube baby” creation, was given the prestigious award. The awards committee had previously shortlisted the nominees and came down to Edwards on Monday at the Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute around 11:00 a.m.
Robert Geoffrey Edwards is a British physiologist who pioneered in the reproductive medicine. Edwards was born on September 27, 1925 in Leeds. As a teen, he attended the Manchester Central High School. Edwards then joined the British Army. Subsequently, he attended the University of Wales Bangor with a degree in agriculture. The 85 years old physiologist obtained his PhD in 1955 at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh.
In 1963 Edwards joined the team of scientist at the University of Cambridge, where he spent the rest of his professional life. His initial success came in 1968, fertilizing a human egg in a laboratory. Soon, he began to collaborate with a gynecologic surgeon from Oldham named Patrick Steptoe.
July 25, 1978, the two made history with their “Test Tube Baby”. Their lifelong work on In-Vitro-Fertilization (IVF) finally gave birth to baby Louise Joy Brown. The world’s first test tube baby arrived at 11:47 p.m. at the Oldham General Hospital.
In 2001, the Lasker Foundation bestowed the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award to Robert Edwards. He was commended for the development of in vitro fertilization, a medical advancement that has revolutionized the field of science particularly human fertilization. In 2007, The Daily Telegraph named Edwards the 26th greatest living geniuses out of the 100 in the list.
Edwards and Steptoe’s contribution is considered a “miracle” by some people, especially for infertile couples. For spouses who once thought of having no chances producing a baby of their own , Edwards and Steptoe’s scientific breakthrough opens a new door for them. It was estimated that about 1.5 million babies have been born through IVF in 2004.
Last year, three researchers were named winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak, American researchers, shared the $1.4 million prize money. Their work revolves around chromosomes and their findings shed light on human aging and diseases, including cancer.
Started in 1895 from an idea by Swedish Chemist Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, the Nobel Prize is an annual international awards bestowed by the Nobel foundation to people who has made a difference in the field of natural science, literature, and social science. Each recipient or laureate receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money.
Last year’s winners were:
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath for Chemistry.
Charles K. Kao for Physics
Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for Physics.
Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson for the Prize in Economics. Ostrom was the first woman to receive the Economics Prize.
Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak for medicine.
Herta Muller for Literature.
US President Barack Obama for Peace Prize. He was awarded “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”