Public Release: 

ACS statement on Nobel Prize in Chemistry

American Chemical Society

Statement of Nina Mcclelland Chair, Board of Directors, American Chemical Society on Nobel Prize in Chemistry October 9, 2002

"Many of the recent breakthroughs in drug discovery and design and new treatments for life-threatening diseases are based on the techniques developed by this year's award recipients. Their work has led to a better understanding of the inner working of cells, helped determine protein structures and functions involved in the development of diseases such as cancer and malaria, and revolutionized the early phase of pharmaceutical research. I'm especially pleased that the international aspect of the Nobel Prize is complemented by the fact that two of this year's winners, John Fenn of the United States and Kurt Wüthrich of Switzerland, are among the global membership of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society."

Nina McClelland, chair of the American Chemical Society's Board of Directors, also is president of McClelland Consulting Services, a Michigan-based management, chemical and environmental consulting company. ACS is the world's largest scientific society, with 163,000 member chemists and chemical engineers.


Scientists can't understand the inner workings of the cell if they can't "see" inside. Mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), the work areas of this year's Nobel laureates, enable chemists to identify and understand the large protein molecules that form the basis of life in every living organism.

MS allows scientists to weigh molecules and identify them by their mass, giving answers to questions such as "what?" and "how much?" NMR answers the question "what does it look like?" by providing a three-dimensional picture of a molecule's structure. This combined information leads to a clearer knowledge of how proteins function in the cell, leading to breakthroughs in drug discovery and the diagnosis and treatment of dangerous diseases such as mad cow disease, cancer and malaria.

Articles are available from Chemical & Engineering News that may provide useful background information. Two articles about the role of analytical techniques in proteomics research appeared in the April 8, 2002, and April 2, 2001, editions of C&EN and can be accessed on the Web at:

Two articles about NMR analysis of proteins appeared in the July 15, 2002, and Aug. 10, 1998, editions of C&EN and can be accessed on the Web at:


Experts in mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance

Name Affiliation Contact Information
Mostafa El-Sayed Editor of Journal of Physical Chemistry 404-894-0293 or 404-894-0292
Catherine Fenselau University of Maryland 301-405-8616 or 301-405-8614
cell 443-742-7310
Royce W. Murray University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Editor of Analytical Chemistry 919-962-2541
Gerald Saltzer NSF Biology division 703-292-8470
Ad Bax National Institutes of Health 301-496-2848
David Muddiman Mayo Clinic 507-284-2425 or 507-284-1997

Please call the ACS News Service at 202-872-4451, or the above contacts for information.

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