CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

Two American Jews win Nobel Prize in Medicine,
Belgian Jew Nobel Prize in Physics

NEW YORK (EJP)Oct 8---Two American Jews and a German won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday, The New York Jewish Press reported, while one the two Nobel Prize in physics, awarded on Tuesday, is also Jewish.

The newest Jewish Nobel Prize winners in medicine are James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California. The third winner was Dr. Thomas Sudhof of Stanford University.

The three won the Nobel Prize for their insights into the traffic-control system for living cells — discoveries that the awards committee hopes will lead to future treatments for epilepsy, diabetes and immunological disorders.

Physicists François Englert of Belgium, a professor emeritus at the Free University of Brussels, and Peter Higgs of Britain won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics ''for their discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles."

Englert, 80, who was raised in a Jewish family, is a Holocaust survivor. He is among others a Sackler Professor by Special Appointment in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University.

The university has had "a deep connection" with Englert for many years, a spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

More than 20 percent of the 800 Nobel Prize winners so far have been Jewish although Jews represent only 0.2 percent of the world's population, the weekly newspaper noted.

Shoah survivor shares Nobel in physics
Ynet, Oct.9.13

Jewish Belgian Prof. François Englert, 81, grew up in Nazi-occupied Europe, married Israeli woman, serves as professor at Tel Aviv University. Nobel Committee awards him with prestigious prize for theory of how particles acquire mass, together with Scottish Prof. Peter Higgs, who is known as Israel boycotter
Dudi Goldman

Nobel laureate Martin Karplus escaped Nazis when a small boy
Hindustan times, Oct 10 2013, AFP Stockholm, October 09, 2013


Martin Karplus, one of three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday, escaped the Nazis and the Holocaust aged just eight-years-old, according to his autobiography. Karplus was born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1930 and narrowly escaped Austria when Germany took control of the country in 1938, he wrote in a lengthy article in the Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure in 2006.

Karplus described how attitudes towards him and his family changed even before the Nazi takeover of Austria, and how two boys he and his brother had considered their best friends began bullying them.

"In the spring of 1937, they suddenly refused to have anything to do with us and began taunting us by calling us 'dirty Jew boys' when we foolishly continued to try to interact with them," he wrote.

When Nazi German troops rolled into Austria in March 1938, Karplus was able to escape to Switzerland with his brother and mother.

But in what he described as a "traumatic" aspect of the departure, his father was prevented from leaving and locked up in a Viennese jail.

"In part, he was kept as a hostage so that any money we had would not be spirited out of the country," he wrote.
As the small family secured passage to the United States and was preparing to embark on a trans-Atlantic journey at the French port of Le Havre, there was still no news of his father.

"He miraculously turned up at Le Havre a few days before our ship, the Ile de France, was scheduled to depart for New York," he wrote.

Karplus later learned that his uncle had signed a $5,000 bond for his release.

While Karplus, now 83, and his family were able to escape, many other Austrians Jews met a much more sinister fate.

"As history has recorded, many were not able to leave and died in concentration camps," he wrote.

Karplus went on to pursue a stellar academic career in the United States, getting a PhD in 1953 before making the discoveries that earned him the world's most prestigious award for the chemical science on Wednesday.