Nobel prize winner: What they discovered and why it matters

Prof Sally Ferguson

writer

Prof Sally Ferguson

Director, Appleton Institute; Head of Ops and Research Professor, CQUniversity Australia

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing the molecular cogs and wheels inside our biological clock.

In the 18th century an astronomer by the name of Jean Jacques d’Ortuous de Marian noted his plants opening and closing their leaves with the cycle of light and dark, with the leaves opening towards the sun. Being an inquisitive chap, he placed the plants in constant darkness and observed that the daily opening and closing of the leaves continued even in the absence of sunlight – indicative of an internal clock.

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Prof Sally Ferguson

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Prof Sally Ferguson

Director, Appleton Institute; Head of Ops and Research Professor, CQUniversity Australia

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