2 Columbia University Scientists Win Medicine Nobel

“Two American scientists who discovered how people can smell and recall about 10,000 different odors were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in the category of physiology or medicine today.

The winners were Dr. Richard Axel, 58, a university professor at Columbia, and Dr. Linda B. Buck, 57, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle. The two, who will share the $1.3 million award, were cited for a discovery they made in 1991 while working together at Columbia University in Manhattan.

Until publication of their fundamental paper in 1991, the sense of smell had been ‘the most enigmatic of our senses,’ the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said in announcing the award. The two scientists’ work provides a molecular understanding of how people who smell a lilac in childhood can recognize the fragrance later in life and also recall associated memories.”

More here in the New York Times.