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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday's Molecule #121: Winner

UPDATE:The image is a 2D Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum of cane sugar from the Nobel website. This kid of image can only be produced by mathematically transforming the primary data to create a multidimensional representation. Richard Ernst discovered the Fourier transform method that led to solving three dimensional structures by NMR. He won a Nobel Prize in 1991.

This week's winner is Michael Clarkson of Waltham MA (USA). The dominance of Canadians is coming to an end.

This is a true representation of the structure of a biological molecule but I don't expect you you to guess the molecule. Instead, you have to explain what this image is depicting and how it relates to a Nobel Laureate.

There is one Nobel Laureate who is most closely identified with this particular type of image. You have to identify the Nobel Laureate and what the prize was for. Be careful, because I'm looking for the pioneer in this field and not for other Nobel Prize winners who may have come later. Be sure to check the list of previous Nobel Laureates on Sandwalk.

The first person to identify the molecule and the Nobel Laureate wins a free lunch at the Faculty Club. Previous winners are ineligible for one month from the time they first won the prize.

There are seven ineligible candidates for this week's reward: Maria Altshuler of the University of Toronto, Mike Fraser of Toronto, Alex Ling of the University of Toronto, Laura Gerth of the University of Notre Dame, Stefan Tarnawsky of the University of Toronto, Dima Klenchin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Adam Santoro of the University of Toronto.

The Canadians are still ahead in the competition between Canadians the rest of the world but Dima and Laura are at least keeping it from being a total rout.

I still have one extra free lunch donated by a previous winner to a deserving undergraduate so I'm going to continue to award an additional free lunch to the first undergraduate student who can accept it. Please indicate in your email message whether you are an undergraduate and whether you can make it for lunch.


Nobel Laureates
Send your guess to Sandwalk (sandwalk (at) and I'll pick the first email message that correctly identifies the molecule and names the Nobel Laureate(s). Note that I'm not going to repeat Nobel Prizes so you might want to check the list of previous Sandwalk postings by clicking on the link in the theme box.

Correct responses will be posted tomorrow.

Comments will be blocked for 24 hours. Comments are now open.


  1. The image is a 2D Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum of cane sugarBoo. I was going for Rorshack ink blot.

  2. Speaking of molecules, there is an important story today (May 13) in the New York Times announcing a publication in Nature on Thursday.

    "Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life"

    This kind of researchs (if it is supported by confirming investigations) strikes the biggest blow for evolution against religious superstition that could possibly be struck. Will we be able to create self-replicating RNA molecules in the lab? Will we be able to create life from a few elements?