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UC Berkeley Nobel laureates Betzig and Schekman write about their research for kids

By October 24, 2023No Comments

By Rachel Henderson

Cartoon-style illustration of a Nobel prize medal, surrounded by heads of different people, with science-related symbols and icons in the background.

Illustration from Frontiers for Young Minds, volume 3 of the Nobel Collection.

UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) members Eric Betzig and Randy Schekman recently published articles about their research far from a new experience for these Nobel laureates but this time, the articles were written for kids and reviewed by kids.

The articles were published in Frontiers for Young Minds, a unique journal started by HWNI member Robert Knight, who is a professor of the graduate school of psychology at Berkeley. The journal publishes articles by scientists after they are reviewed by kids (with the help of mentors who are typically PhD students or postdoctoral fellows), ensuring they are understandable to the target audience of kids ages 8-15. The process engages kids in science, and results in articles about scientific research that are understandable to the general public.

Betzig and Schekman’s articles are in the third volume of the journal’s Nobel Collection, which currently contains 25 articles for kids authored by Nobel laureates from across STEM fields, with more articles to come, according to Knight. Knight is the co-editor of the Nobel Collection, along with Idan Segev from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Betzig is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at Berkeley. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 jointly with Stefan Hell and William Moerner for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. His article for kids is “Seeing Beyond the Limits With Super-Resolution Microscopy”.

Schekman is a professor of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2013 jointly with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells. His article for kids is “The Secrets of Secretion: Protein Transport in Cells”.

Each article in the Nobel Collection explains the research that earned the author the Nobel Prize, and includes a “recommendations for young minds” section where the Nobel laureates share their advice for kids, often based on their personal experiences.


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