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2 Americans & a Japanese wins Nobel in chemistry

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October 11, 2000 


STOCKHOLM (AP) - Americans Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa of Japan won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Tuesday for their discoveries that plastic can be made electrically conductive.

The laureates will share the 9 million kronor (dlrs 915,000) prize for the "discovery and development of conductive polymers," according to the citation by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The three men found "that a thin film of polyacetylene could be oxidised with iodine vapour, increasing its electrical conductivity a billion times," according to the citation.

The physics prize was awarded earlier Tuesday to Zhores I. Alferov of the A.F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, Herbert Kroemer, a German-born researcher at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments in Dallas.

They were cited for their work that helped create modern information technology, leading to everyday devices like pocket calculators, CD players and cell phones.

A week of Nobel awards started Monday with the naming of Arvid Carlsson of Sweden, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel of the United States, as the winners of this year's medicine prize for discoveries about how messages are transmitted between brain cells, leading to treatments of Parkinson's disease and depression.

The economics prize was to be announced Wednesday and the literature prize on Thursday in Stockholm. The coveted peace prize will be awarded Friday in Oslo, Norway.

Alfred Nobel, the wealthy Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite, endowed the physics, chemistry, literature, medicine and peace prizes in his will but left only vague guidelines for the selection committees. The economics prize was first awarded in 1969.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which also chooses the physics and economics winners, invited nominations from previous recipients and experts in the fields before whittling down its choices, but deliberations are conducted in strict privacy.

Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian-American, won last year's chemistry prize for pioneering the use of rapid-fire laser flashes that illuminate the motion of atoms in a molecule.

The prizes always are presented Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

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