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Celebrating the 2017 Nobel laureates with free access to selections of their research

Download their most cited papers published with Elsevier

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Photo of Stockholm skyline © istock.com/JohanSjolander; Nobel Prize medal © ® Nobel Foundation.

Editor's note: This article is being continually updated with information about the newly-announced Nobel laureates and access to their research.


A scientist’s creed: the limits of knowledge are wider than those of imagination. With the announcements of the Nobel Prize awards, we celebrate science and its power to expand our understanding of the world.

As the legacy of Alfred Nobel lives on every year since 1901, the scientific community recognizes those who have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind” through outstanding research efforts. Nobel’s last will and testament still serves as guide for the selection criteria, including his express wish that “in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize …”

Most of the Nobel laureates in science have published their work in Elsevier's journals and books — 173 out of 174 since 2000, according to a Scopus analysis — and many have served as editors, editorial board members or reviewers.

To honor them for their achievements, we have made a selection of their most cited papers published with Elsevier freely available.


Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

 Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael W. Young were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm." (Credit: ANP)

Read a selection of their research papers.

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young were jointly awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm." Three papers from Cell Press journals were among those cited as winning research, including Zehring et al (Cell, 1984), Siwicki et al (Neuron, 1988) and Price et al (Cell, 1998).

Their research on the internal biological clock of living creatures offers valuable insights into the way humans, animals and plants synchronize their inner rhythms with the changes of the Earth.

In 1984, they successfully isolated the gene whose mutations disrupted the circadian clock of flies, a gene named period. Later on, Dr. Hall and Dr. Rosbash observed that PER, the protein encoded by period, oscillated over 24-hour cycles, accumulating during the night and degrading during the day, being synchronized with the cicardian rhythm.

Thanks to their work, we now recognize that the biological clock of cells functions in the same way for many other organisms, including humans. Our change in behavior and wellbeing appears over the periods when our external environment and our internal biological clock do not match, such as the experience of “jet lag” after travelling across time zones.

About Jeffrey C. Hall

Prof. Jeffrey C. Hall was born in New York in 1945. In 1971, he received a PhD from the University of Washington in Seattle and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena for the next two years. In 1974, he joined the faculty at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and in 2002, he joined the faculty of the University of Maine.

Prof. Hall has published in the following Elsevier journals: Animal Behaviour, Cell, Current Biology, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Gene, Journal of Insect Physiology, Neuron, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Trends in Genetics and Trends in Neurosciences.

He has also contributed with articles to the Elsevier book series Advances in Genetics, Advances in Insect Physiology and Methods in Enzymology.

About Michael Rosbash

Prof. Rosbash was born in 1944 in Kansas City. In 1970, he received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland until 1974. Since then, he has been on the faculty at Brandeis University.

Prof. Rosbash has published in the following Elsevier journals: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Cell, Cell Metabolism, Cell Reports, Current Biology, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Gene, Journal of Molecular Biology, Molecular Cell, Neuron, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Trends in Genetics.

He has also contributed with articles to the Elsevier book Methods in Enzymology.

About Michael W. Young

Prof. Young was born in 1949 in Miami. In 1975 he received a PhD from the University of Texas in Austin. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University for the following two years, and has been has been on faculty at the Rockefeller University in New York since 1978.

Prof. Young has published in the following Elsevier journals: Cell, Current Biology, Journal of Molecular Biology, Methods in Enzymology, Neuron, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, andTrends in Biochemical Sciences.

He has also contributed with articles to the following Elsevier book series: Handbook of Cell Signaling and Handbook of Proteolytic Enzymes.


Nobel Prize in Physics

Barry C. Barish, Kip S. Thorne and Reiner Weiss (Credit: ANP)

Read a selection of their research papers.

Half of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne, “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.”

Their extraordinary efforts made the observation of gravitational waves possible for the first time in history.

Gravitational waves appear as a result of the collision between two black holes, similar to how circular ripples form when a pebble passes through a water surface. They spread at the speed of light across the universe, being a direct effect of disruptions in spacetime. More than a century ago, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, yet he was convinced that it would never be possible to measure them.

Drs. Weiss, Barish and Thorne set on a journey to prove him wrong. This was the beginning of LIGO – the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a project involving over one thousand researchers from more than 20 countries. Decades of studies, testing and adjustments have led to the design and completion of a pair of instruments consisting in two L-shaped 4km-long vacuum chambers that can measure variations thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus. On September 14, 2015, the LIGO detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, detected gravitational waves for the first time in history, bringing the first direct proof of their existence.

About Rainer Weiss

Dr. Rainer Weiss was born in 1932 in Berlin and is currently a Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1962, he obtained his PhD from MIT, and held teaching and research positions at Tufts University and Princeton University before returning to MIT in 1964. He has received various achievement awards from NASA, an MIT Excellence in Teaching award, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the National Space Club Science Award, the Medaille de l’ADION Observatoire de Nice, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Einstein Prize of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Weiss has published in the following Elsevier journals: Advances in Space Research, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A and Nuclear Physics A.

About Barry C. Barish

Dr. Barry C. Barrish was born in 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been a Linde Professor of Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology since 2005. He received a PhD in experimental particle physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1962. Since then, he has held several academic positions at both of the above-mentioned institutions. LIGO was Dr. Barrish’s primary research focus. He became its Principle Investigator in 1994 and Director in 1997.

Dr. Barrish is a former Editor for Astroparticle Physics and has published in the following Elsevier journals: Advances in Space Research, Astroparticle Physics, International Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation, Part D, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, Nuclear Physics B, Physics Letters, Physics Reports and Radiation Measurements.

About Kip S. Thorne

Dr. Kip S. Thorne was born in 1940 in Logan, Utah, and has been the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology since 2009. He received his PhD in Physics from Princeton University in 1965. Over the years, he has held several academic positions at the above-mentioned institutions, as well as the University of Utah and Cornell University, and received numerous awards for his contribution to astrophysics. In 2009, Dr. Thorne resigned his Feynman Professorship to pursue a career in writing and film, while continuing his scientific research. His best-known film is Interstellar.

Dr. Thorne has published several papers in Elsevier’s journal Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A.


Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Joachim Frank, Richard Henderson and Jacques Dubochet (Credit: ANP)

Read a selection of their research papers.

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson share the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution."

Their efforts towards creating a simplified and improved method of image processing are revolutionizing biochemistry.

The wish to “see the invisible” has always been part of human curiosity. But when it came to biomolecules, imaging technology did not seem advanced enough to analyze them mid-movement. Scientists believed that electron microscopes were unable to provide images of dead matter, since their electron beam can destroy biological material.

Subsequent improvements brought by Prof. Henderson, Prof. Frank and Prof. Dubochet have successfully overcome this barrier. The atomic resolution they aimed for was achieved in 2013, when their electron microscope successfully produced three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. This technology is now the norm in biochemistry, pushing its boundaries further and accelerating its development.

About Jacques Dubochet

Prof. Jacques Dubochet was born in 1942 in Aigle, Switzerland. and is an Honorary Professor of biophysics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1969, he began to study electron microscopy of DNA, which remained his main topic throughout his research career. He received his PhD in 1973 from the University of Geneva and the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Prof. Dubochet is a former Editorial Board member of Micron and has published in the following Elsevier journals: Biology of the Cell, Biophysical Journal, Comptes Rendus Chimie, Journal of Controlled Release, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Structural Biology, Journal of Ultrastructure and Molecular Structure Research, Materials Science and Engineering: C, Micron, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Trends in Cell Biology and Ultramicroscopy.

He has also contributed with articles to the following Elsevier book series: Methods in Cell Biology and Methods in Enzymology.

About Joachim Frank

Prof. Joachim Frank was born in 1940 in Siegen, Germany, and is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences at Columbia University in New York. He obtained a PhD in 1970 from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Prof. Frank is an Editorial Board member of Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, a former Editorial Board member of Current Opinion in Structural Biology, Journal of Structural Biology and Ultramicroscopy, and has published in the following Elsevier journals: Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Bioenergetics, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Biomembranes, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology, Biophysical Chemistry, Biophysical Journal, Cell, Chemistry and Biology, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, Electron Microscopy Reviews, FEBS Letters, International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Ultrastructure Research and Molecular Structure Research, Methods, Molecular Cell, Trends in Biochemical Sciencesand Ultramicroscopy.

He has also contributed with articles to the following Elsevier book series: Methods in Cell Biology and Methods in Enzymology.

About Richard Henderson

Richard Henderson was born in 1945 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the Programme Leader of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. The Laboratory is the home of over 350 scientists specializing in fields such as neurobiology, cell biology, structural biology, immunology, cancer biology and biotechnology. Dr. Henderson started as a physicist from Edinburgh University but switched to molecular biology at the age of 21. In 1969 he obtained his PhD from Cambridge University.

Prof. Henderson is a former Editorial Board member of Current Opinion in Structural Biology and a reviewer for Ultramicroscopy, and he has published in the following Elsevier journals: Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Bioenergetics, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Biomembranes, Biophysical Journal, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, European Neuropsychopharmacology, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Structural Biology, Molecular Immunology,Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Structure and Ultramicroscopy.

He has also contributed with articles to the following Elsevier book series: Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics and Methods in Enzymology.


Nobel Prize in Economics

Read a selection of his research papers.

Richard H. Thaler was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for his contributions to behavioural economics." (Credit: ANP)The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel has been awarded to Richard H. Thaler "for his contributions to behavioural economics."

Dr. Thaler’s research on economic decision-making has led to enormous advances in the field of behavioral economics, while his insights have led to changes in practices and policy.

His book Nudge – titled after a term he coined – questions the rationality of human judgment, analyzing the lack of self-control. By building a bridge between psychology and economics, he aimed to understand how human beings make individual financial decisions. Dr. Thaler’s “theory of mental accounting” suggests that individuals evaluate the narrow impact of each decision separately instead of looking at the bigger picture. These insights were highlighted in the article “Invest now, drink later, spend never: On the mental accounting of delayed consumption” in the Journal of Economic Psychology, published by Elsevier.

His research also focused on the importance of fairness concerns. The dictator game he created is now a widely used experimental tool for measuring attitudes towards fairness and their effects on decision-making.

About Richard H. Thaler

Prof. Richard H. Thaler was born in 1945 in East Orange, New Jersey. He is the director of the Center for Decision Research and the co-director of the Behavioral Economics Project at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dr. Thaler received his PhD from the University of Rochester in 1974 and has held numerous academic positions at  the University of Rochester and Cornell University. In 1995 he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has authored or edited six books, including Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, published in 2015.


Research by Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine

Animal Behaviour

Cell

Journal of Insect Physiology

Neuron

Journal of Molecular Biology

Structure

Trends in Biochemical Sciences

Trends in Neurosciences

Research by Nobel Laureates in Physics

Astroparticle Physics

Advances in Space Research

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplement

Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics

Research by Nobel Laureates in Chemistry

Biophysical Journal

Cell

Journal of Molecular Biology

Journal of Structural Biology

Journal of Ultrasructure Research

Methods in Cell Biology

Micron

Molecular Cell

Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Trends in Biochemical Sciences

Structure

Trends in Cell Biology

Ultramicroscopy

Research by Nobel Laureate in Economics

Economics Letters

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

Journal of Economic Psychology

Journal of Public Economics

Journal of Urban Economics


Contributors

The following Elsevier colleagues contributed to this report: Alison Bert (New York), Jason A. Awerdick (New York), Sacha Boucherie (Amsterdam), Cara Cavanaugh (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Marc Chahin (Amsterdam), Rob van Daalen (Amsterdam). Annis De Bruyn Moreira (Amsterdam), Emily Djock (Amsterdam), Jennie Eckilson (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Rachael Engels (Amsterdam), Chiara Farinelli (Amsterdam), Daniela Georgescu (Amsterdam),  Helene Hodak (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Frederik Adriaan Klinkenberg (Amsterdam), Emma McEwan (Amsterdam), Ana Morzinger (Amsterdam), Andrea O'Brien (Amsterdam), Michael Osuch (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Erik Rovers (Amsterdam), Dale Seaton (New York), Matthew Smaldon (Oxford), Ian Smith (Oxford), Abby Sonnenfeldt (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Jose Stoop (Amsterdam), Tom Thayer (Amsterdam), Anburaj Thangaraj (Chennai, India), and Alexandra Walker (Oxford).

Also, much of this information came from the Nobel Prize website.

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