2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine- shared by 3…. and 2 are WOMEN!! ELEVENTY!!!!

Yeah, I’m still reading the NYT even though I’m in France at a meeting… and I just saw this headline…

Three Americans Share Nobel Prize for Medicine

American scientists Jack Szostak, Carol Greider and Elisabeth Blackburn share the 2009 Nobel prize for medicine!!! This is the first time that women have shared this prize for medicine (although several have won it individually). I’m beside myself with glee. See full article here.

There is one weird thing about the article though- exemplified by these quotes- first Carol Greider:

”It’s really very thrilling, it’s something you can’t expect,” she told The Associated Press by telephone.

People might make predictions of who might win, but one never expects it, she said, adding that ”It’s like the Monty Python sketch, ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”’

Lovely, ok, not expecting it. Now Liz Blackburn:

”Prizes are always a nice thing,” she told The AP. ”It doesn’t change the research per se, of course, but it’s lovely to have the recognition and share it with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak.”

Lovely, ok- downplay,… share recognition with others…

Now Jack Szostak:

”There’s always some small chance that something like this might happen, so when the phone rang, I thought maybe this is it, so, sure enough,” Szostak told the AP.

He said winning the prize was made sweeter because it also included Blackburn and Greider.

Huh? 2 am phone call= I won the Nobel prize. … and share recognition with others.

Let me make it clear- I think it is absolutely fantastic that these three individuals won the Nobel prize, if you read about any and all of them (abelpharmboy has an awesome post up) it is easy to see why. But I’m contrasting what the NYT chose to highlight in their reactions… and I just think it falls along gender lines so typically. Am I the only one that sees this???


13 thoughts on “2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine- shared by 3…. and 2 are WOMEN!! ELEVENTY!!!!

  1. WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And, yup, if you take the names off the quotes, I can tell you which is male and which is female. Men say “I, I, I, me, me, me”, it’s a dead giveaway every time.

  2. Well, I guess it appears stereotypically female, male. But come on, there must be predictions about who’s going to win ahead of time. Let me tell you that if *my* name had been mentioned in the predictions, I’d definitely be hoping for/anticipating a phone call! And I definitely wouldn’t say, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect it.” Many women?people? are too modest. Take the credit! I have no problem with Jack’s response- he sounds confident yet gracious to the other winners at the same time.

  3. “But come on, there must be predictions about who’s going to win ahead of time”

    There’s a lot of lobbying that goes on, and the success or failure of that likely gives an idea of who’s really in the running ahead of time.

  4. Great news and well deserved. However, it is a little misleading to claim that three Americans won the Nobel. Blackburn is actually Australian-born though, as the article states, she is a dual citizenship holder with the US. Aussies will be miffed that the US claims her as their own.

  5. I hope that this finding leads to further research. It would be nice to see some advancements on disease, aging (especially the brain) and most of all cancer. It is about time. And best of all, finally two women! I am happy for them. I heard one of them has been working on this since grad school.

  6. Somewhere along the line, it became impolite for us to acknowledge that we are rock stars. It’s something I do think women, more so than men, subscribe to, and something that I’m grappling with now as I’m applying to faculty jobs and am trying to Sell Myself without sounding like an egotistical bitch. It would be great to see these women say “Yeah! We worked really hard on this really important problem for a really long time, so it’s great to be rewarded for it.”

  7. Thanks Jamie! I was just about to be a miffed Aussie 🙂
    Well done to three amazing scientists.

  8. The Aussie newspapers already had that Blackburn was tipped to be possibly the first Aussie woman to win the nobel prize from the Thomsonreuters nobel predictions, which picked all three!

  9. Funny, double-doc. I had the exact same reaction, and was repeating it to other scientists.

    You can also add to your list the Israeli woman who shared the Nobel prize in Chemistry, Ada Yonat. 3/9. Not perfect, but getting there. And, making it to FSP’s n=2.

  10. And, doesn’t this make your heart just sing:

    “Soon after, Greider woke up her children, Gwendolyn Comfort, 9, and Charles Comfort, 13, who were elated. “My mom was shaking me, saying ‘I won the Nobel Prize!’ and I was like, whoa!” said Gwendolyn, who scribbled notes throughout the news conference as a keepsake.”


    (yeah, you reminded me of how happy I was about this last week when I was traveling).

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