Sounds a bit like scandium

Burnstock hoped for greater things than pre-eminence in the study of goldfish guts. The study of brown trout guts did not exactly satisfy him either, though he did become the world’s leading expert in that too. “Not exactly a highly competitive field,” he later conceded.

5 thoughts on “Sounds a bit like scandium”

  1. “he identified a substance called … ATP as the mysterious neurotransmitter”

    Yet he didn’t share a Nobel for that? Was he skilled at making enemies or outplayed by men skilled at making friends?

  2. Come to think of it it’s illuminating to compare the state Honours he was awarded with those awarded to Professor Neil Ferguson. You gotta laugh.

  3. @Dearieme

    More a matter of the Right Research in the Wrong Place/Time.
    He did his work in the “medical” field of biology, which didn’t take off as a distinct field until the late 80’s/early 90’s with the rapid advances in what we now call “molecular science”. Surgeons got Medicine Nobels, not lab researchers…

    And around the time he made his discoveries in Biology some other people were busy with proving this thing called “DNA” was indeed the carrier of our inheritable traits ( and other bobs and bits).
    A bit later the work on the M13 bacteriophage, making study of DNA transcription and the first forms of a thing dubbed “genetic manipulation” possible took a bit of limelight.

    His work was significant and important, but Nobel-wise he simply was outgunned.
    Along with many others… There were a lot of very important fundamental discoveries made in that time, almost none of which got their “proper” accolades. The sheer volume of fundamental discoveries set the bar for that incredibly high.

  4. I don’t know enough to argue about out-gunning: I’ll take your word for it.

    I do, however, know that Crick and Watson’s discovery of the structure of DNA happened long after it was known that it was the carrier of inherited traits – that was why their was a fuss about its structure – and that was long, long before the importance of Burnstock’s work was conceded. The obit says “It was not until the discovery of ATP receptors on muscles and nerves in the early 1990s that Burnstock’s detractors piped down and he received the recognition he deserved. He was awarded the Royal Society gold medal in 2000, at which time he was the most cited pharmacologist in the world.”

    “Surgeons got Medicine Nobels, not lab researchers…”: I think not. Here’s the list since the early 90s. I’ve left in the names of people who are (I assume) surgeons or physicians. The other all seem to me to be scientists or, if medical men, had been acting as scientists when they did their prize-winning work..

    2019 William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability”

    2018 James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation”

    2017 “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”

    2016 “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy”

    2015 William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites” & Tu Youyou “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”

    2014 “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”

    2013 “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”

    2012 “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”

    2011 “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity” & “for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity”

    2010 Robert G. Edwards “for the development of in vitro fertilization”

    2009 “for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”

    2008 “for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer” & “for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus”

    2007 “for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells”

    2006 “for their discovery of RNA interference – gene silencing by double-stranded RNA”

    2005 Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren “for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease”

    2004 “for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system”

    2003 “for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging”

    2002 “for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death’”

    2001 “for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle”

    2000 “for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system”

    1999 “for the discovery that proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell”

    1998 “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”

    1997 “for his discovery of Prions – a new biological principle of infection”

    1996 “for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence”

    1995 “for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development”

    1994 “for their discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells”

    1993 “for their discoveries of split genes”

    1992 “for their discoveries concerning reversible protein phosphorylation as a biological regulatory mechanism”

    1991 “for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells”

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