Dubochet, Frank, Henderson win 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

That can help reveal how they interact.

The 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize is shared by Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, Joachim Frank at New York's Columbia University and Richard Henderson of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Britain.

"I am very happy-I think this [prize] is something that he really deserves". It was a bit of a special case, because of the ordered arrangement of the proteins in the cell membrane, but in principle this approach could be used for any molecule found in cells.

It's become such a valuable tool that last year, the National Institutes of Health named cryo-electron microscopy its "method of the year".

"This discovery is like the Google Earth for molecules in that it takes us down to the fine detail of atoms within proteins", says Campbell. And biologists hope that by actually seeing what their drugs have to target, they might develop more effective medications more quickly: a study past year, for instance, showed the atomic-level structure of an enzyme that, if disrupted, might fight cancer.

The prize comes with nine million Swedish kronor (around Dollars 1.1 million or 943,100 euros).

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Henderson's portion of the prize was awarded for his 1990 breakthrough in imaging with an electron microscope, using the device to produce a 3-dimensional image of a protein at atomic resolution.

The technique has continuously been improved and in 2013, it reached its desired atomic resolution, the prize committee said. "Each of these pictures represents a frame and they can be put together into a movie and we can see what the molecules do", said Peter Brzezinski, a member of the Nobel committee for chemistry.

Henderson said Dubochet "kicked off the field; he invented this method of making specimens we now use". The prizes for Literature, Peace and Economics will be awarded in the coming days.

Frank said he was "fully overwhelmed" on learning that he was a victor.

Science has contributed more the human civilisation than any other disciplines.

Chemistry is the third of this year's Nobel Prizes after the winners of the medicine and physics prizes were announced earlier this week. These three Americans are Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young. It was awarded by Rainer Weiss, berry Bersu and Kpov Thorne for the study of gravitational waves.

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