Research NewsNobel Prizes

Chemistry Prize Taps the Energy of Life

Science  24 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5338, pp. 579
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5338.579

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Last week, this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three researchers for their "pioneering work" on enzymes that create and burn a power-packed molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a cellular fuel that drives processes ranging from the firing of nerve cells to muscle contraction. American Paul Boyer and Briton John Walker shared half of the $1 million prize for deducing the remarkable molecular machinery of an enzyme called ATP synthase, which catalyzes the production of ATP. Danish physiologist Jens C. Skou took the other half of the prize for his discovery of another enzyme, sodium, potassium-ATPase, that's the body's biggest ATP user. For more information on this prize, see the Nobel Foundation Web site.