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Researchers and inventors in great tradition

the dinner at the Nobel Prizeceremoy in Stockholm

Traditional event: the dinner at the Nobel Prizeceremoy in Stockholm

On 10 December, the Nobel Prizes for 2017 will be presented in Stockholm, the highest awards in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and economics.

Its founder Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was mainly known as a developer and producer of explosives and held various patents, including those for pdf-Datei dynamite (14,36 MB), his most famous invention. But Nobel also came up with other patented inventions such as a pdf-Datei process for preserving meat (2,64 MB) or pdf-Datei producing artificial rubber (10,99 MB) . In his last will and testament, he ordered the foundation of a trust that has been awarding the prestigious prizes since 1901.

Often, the Nobel Prize is associated with the honouring of a lifetime achievement. Sometimes the stages of a researcher's life can be read off his patent applications. The winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010, for example, the American Richard F. Heck, was awarded for palladium-catalyzed cross-couplings in organic synthesis. Among other things, he holds a patent for an effective palladium-catalyzed process for the production of tertiary allylic amines from vinyl halides and olefins ( pdf-Datei US 4175187A ).

Nobel Prize for Physics 2017: Rainer Weiss

Nobel Prize for Physics 2017: Rainer Weiss (Drawing: Niklas Elmehed)

Sometimes the patent applications have only marginally to do with the work for which the winners were awarded the Nobel Prize. Horst Ludwig Störmer received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1998: He was awarded for his discovery of a new type of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations. The patents he holds, however, include a phonon filter, an apparatus for the selective transmission or reflection of high-frequency acoustic waves (phonons) through a so-called acoustic superlattice ( pdf-Datei US 4349796A).

Albert Einstein, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, developed a refrigerator, invented a hearing aid and held patents in the field of pdf-Datei electroacoustics and pdf-Datei automatic exposure control for cameras.

Albert Einstein was well versed in intellectual property rights, having worked as a patent examiner at the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property in Bern from 1902-07. During this time, a large part of his important works were created.

His successors are the Nobel Prize winners in Physics 2017 Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne. They are awarded "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and to the observation of gravitational waves". The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) was the first direct detection of gravitational waves of cosmic origin, which Einstein had already predicted in his Allgemeine Relativitätstheorie in 1915.

Joachim Frank, one of the Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry in 2017

Joachim Frank, one of the Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry in 2017 (Drawing: Niklas Elmehed)

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson share the chemistry prize they receive "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution". This technology provides an insight into the atomic details of life.

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young have explored the "inner clock" of man. They are awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine 2017 "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm", i. e. the explanation of how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm to the living conditions.

The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to the Briton Kazuo Ishiguro, "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world", says the Nobel Committee. The Peace Prize awarded in Oslo goes to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN); Richard H. Thaler receives the Prize in economic sciences "for his contributions to behavioural economics"

The Nobel Prizes award ceremony can be watched live at the website (16.30 hrs).

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Who will be the winner of Deutscher Zukunftspreis?

Live broadcast

Deutscher Zukunftspreis Award ceremoy on Wednesday, 29th November, live:

On November 29th, the jury will meet for the decisive meeting: The winners of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2017, the German President's Prize for Technology and Innovation, will be chosen. At the award ceremony at the Kraftwerk Berlin, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honours the best research team of the year. 250,000 euros in prize money await the first place winner. The Zukunftspreis honours developments that are particularly innovative, promise economic success and could create new jobs. In the final round, a robot, a system for pin-sharp clinical images and highly innovative bionic hand prostheses compete against each other.

Roboter "Panda"

Robot "Panda" is a development of Professor Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin and his team. Haddadin is a robotics researcher at Leibniz Universität Hannover. Simon Haddadin and Sven Parusel developed and built the robot in their Munich-based Franka Emika GmbH. “Panda” is extremely sensitive for a robot, can screw, drill and sort objects. He is designed to work with the human being. In future scenarios, he is able to help or even care for older people at some point. Another special feature: If you want to operate Panda, you don't have to be able to program. It can be fed with apps and can be continuously developed by laymen.

Dr. Klaus Dieter Engel and his 3D imaging technique

Dr. Klaus Dieter Engel and his 3D imaging technique

Dr. Klaus Dieter Engel competes with Haddadin's team. With syngo.via Cinematic Rendering, he has developed a new method for 3D imaging at Siemens Healthineers - Siemens Healthcare GmbH in Erlangen. The images show organs, vessels and bones photorealistically and extremely vividly. Doctors can see and locate details more clearly. For example, they are able to detect fractures and internal injuries more easily and can place vascular supports, so-called stents, more accurately. In contrast to previous illustrations, the pictures are immediately understandable even for laymen. By the way, Engel was inspired by the film "Lord of the Rings". The legendary character "Gollum" was integrated into the film using a very similar process. The team also includes Prof. Dr. med. Franz A. Fellner and Dr. -Ing. Robert Schneider.

Bionic Hand prosthesis by Dr. Stefan Schulz and his team

Bionic Hand prosthesis by Dr. Stefan Schulz and his team

The third remaining applicant is Dr.-Ing. Stefan Schulz and his team. In his company Vincent Systems in Karlsruhe he develops highly innovative bionic hand and finger prostheses. Bionic prostheses can replace a lost limb and further facilitate complex motion sequences and functions. Schulz's bionic hand prosthesis is considered to be the smallest and lightest in the world and also offers children more quality of life than other products. It is also much more robust than comparable products on the market. His team includes Adrian Andres and Matthias Baßler, who work with him at Vincent Systems.

All three applicants hold patents at the DPMA or have filed patent applications. The winner will be determined on Wednesday evening. The ZDF will broadcast the recording of the award ceremony on television from 10.15 p. m. on Wednesday, 29 November. If you want to watch it live, you can follow the live stream on the Internet - either on the ZDF website or at

Picture: Nobel Media AB / Alexander Mahmoud, Picture 2: Nobel Media AB; Zeichnung: Niklas Elmehed, Picture 3: Nobel Media AB; Zeichnung: Niklas Elmehed, Picture: Ansgar Prudenz / Deutscher Zukunftspreis, Picture: Ansgar Prudenz / Deutscher Zukunftspreis, Picture: Ansgar Prudenz / Deutscher Zukunftspreis

Last updated: 12/12/17 


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