The recipients of the 1997 Nobel Prizes in science, who will receive their awards on December 10, have traveled the vigorous intellectual journey of science. They all toppled old theories while building new ones. Along the way, they gained collaborations and corroboration from colleagues. They also endured skepticism, which in some cases still persists, despite their noted accomplishments.


OPTICAL MOLASSES: Stanford physicist Steven Chu developed a technique to slow atoms using lasers, mirrors, and magnets.
The biomedical winner, Stanley B. Prusiner, a professor of neurology and biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, swam upstream against a tide of criticism when he introduced a new kind of infectious agent. One of the three chemistry winners, Paul D. Boyer, a professor, emeritus, of biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, described a molecular machine that critics thought impossible, while corecipient John E. Walker, senior scientist at...


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