Nobel Prize Wins Proves Need For Government Funding

It's not just President Obama who brought Nobel glory to the United States this week - Americans also won the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, Physics and Chemistry, proving the need for government funding for research, say US scientists.

The Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian-American, with the Physics Prize being awarded to Canadian-American Willard Boyle and British-American Charles Kao. The Chemistry Prize was shared between Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz and Israel's Ada E. Yonath.

Since 1985, Americans have dominated the science prizes, winning the Chemistry prize all but two years, the Medicine prize all but five years, and the Physics prize all but seven. Scientists are arguing that such results prove the need of government funding for long-term projects that may not show immediate return on investment; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences' Dr. Jeremy Berg cited Yonath's research as a good example of the kind of thing the government should be involved in:

I remember at the time being just completely stunned that she was somewhere between brave enough and crazy enough and because it was way, way, way beyond the technology available at that point... But it was seen as certainly completely unique and something potentially so important that it should be funded.

Nobel prize shows need for funding - scientists [Reuters]