The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to Robert G. Edwards "for the development of in vitro fertilization". They should have added "in humans."
This is a technological achievement, one that was based on years of work with other animals.
I do not favor awarding Nobel Prizes for technology. I prefer to give the science prizes to those who have advanced our fundamental understanding of the universe. This prize is for medicine, which is technology, so it doesn't violate any rules. But in the past the prize in Physiology or Medicine has usually been for basic research.
It worries me that there may have been non-scientific motives behind this year's selection. We saw a horrid example of that last year when the Nobel Peace Prize was announced and I hope this isn't a trend.
Here's an example of how the award is being treated in the press [British IVF pioneer Robert Edwards gets Nobel Prize].
As well as leading to a host of new treatments for infertility, the work also founded the principles behind stem cell research, cloning and techniques that would allow couples to prevent passing on inheritable diseases to their children.The good news is that the Vatican is really, really, pissed! [Vatican official criticises Nobel win for IVF pioneer]. I think it's because the Roman Catholic Church is pro-life.
Christer Höög, professor of molecular biology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and a member of the Nobel Prize Committee, said the birth represented a "paradigm shift"
"It showed for the first time that it is possible to treat infertility," he said.
Prof Edwards' work was highly controversial at the time and there was strong opposition to what was seen as 'playing God' and the research had to be privately funded.