The Nobel prize in chemistry was given for the visualization of molecules

Martin Luther King woken up by Stockholm's Lucia in 1964

Jacques Dubochet of Switzerland, Richard Henderson of the United Kingdom and Joachim Frank of the USA all specialized in cryo-electron microscopy.

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson were awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in chemistry Wednesday for developing cryo-electron microscopy.

His breakthrough was further developed by German-born scientist Frank, a US citizen, while Dubochet of Switzerland used rapidly frozen water to preserve the natural shape of the biomolecules.

The technique they developed, called cryo-electron microscopy, has allowed the structure of biomolecules to be studied in high-resolution for the first time, an advance that has transformed the field of biochemistry. Toward the end of Wednesday's event, a journalist from Chinese radio asked Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Secretary General Göran K. Hansson about the prevalence of Americans, and what it says about US research environment and policies.

The prize of nine million Swedish krona (more than one million francs) will be shared between the three winners.

"We are facing a revolution in biochemistry", said Nobel Committee chair Sara Snogerup Linse, a scientist a the Center for Molecular Protein Science at Lund University in Sweden.

Their research allows scientists to freeze living molecules - known as biomolecules - mid-movement to examine their structures through 3D imagery.

"Soon there are no more secrets", she said.

The discovery of a way to see complex biological molecules in atomic resolution has won this year's Nobel prize in Chemistry.

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Who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry?

Today, three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work developing a new method to image biomolecules, including viruses like Zika, in incredibly high resolution.

Through this method, researchers can now "stop" biomolecules in motion and "to visualize the process, which they've never seen before".

"In the early 1980s, Dubochet succeeded in vitrifying water", the announcement continued.

Previously, electron microscopy imaging was only suitable for studying dead matter, because the electron beam destroys any biological material it is applied to. It was recently used to reveal the structure of the Zika virus.

As electron microscopes improved, Henderson was eventually able to deduce the structure at the atomic scale by 1990 - showing that it was possible to do high-quality studies of biological molecules using an electron microscope. He cooled water so rapidly that it solidified in its liquid form around a biological sample, allowing biomolecules to retain their natural shape even in a vacuum.

Joachim Frank's strategy built upon having a computer discriminate between the traces of randomly positioned proteins and their background in a fuzzy electron microscope image.

"I was overwhelmed. I thought the chances of winning a Nobel prize were miniscule", he told a news briefing by telephone.

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