The Nobel Prizes are the most prestigious awards in the world. The continuing legacy of inventor and scientist Alfred Novel, the Prize is given in various disciplines, including physics, chemistry, medicines, and peace. These honors are given to the most notable men and women in their fields and to those people, whose contributions have somehow transformed the world.
While the awards are given on December 10th of each year, the announcements of recipients generally are made in early Fall. The news wires have now announced the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine and the winner for this years’ Prize is British Professor Robert Geoffrey Edwards.
Born in 1925, Edwards, a British Army veteran, studied agriculture at the University of Wales, but eventually turned his attention to genetics. He studied Animal Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1955. Within years, he turned his focus on the study of fertilization and by 1963, he joined the faculty at the University of Cambridge.
Robert Edwards, an 85 year old professor emeritus of the University of Cambridge, was a pioneer in the study of human reproduction and one of the pioneering geniuses in the field human infertility. In the 1950s, he began his ground breaking work in in-vitro fertilization (IVF.) Edwards, working with British gynecologist, Patrick Steptoe, developed the technique of egg removal, fertilization and then implantation. By the 1970s, in-vitro fertilization was the center of medical, religious, and social debates. Through his work, in July 1978, Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” was born. Following Brown, Steptoe and Edwards opened the first IVF clinic at Bourn Hall in Cambridge.
Since the late 1970s, millions of families have benefited from Edwards’ (and Steptoe’s) work. Through his medical industry transforming achievements, infertility, a condition that affects 10% of couples worldwide, is treatable.
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine is the first of this years Prizes to be announced. It is expected that the Prize for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Economics will be made by next week.