The Nobel Prize in Chemistry Just Went to Two Women for the First Time in History

Emily Tannenbaum
·2 mins read

Behold! Something actually good happening in the news! Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., and Jennifer A. Doudna, Ph.D., just took home the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, making history in the process.

On Wednesday, October 7, the scientists were awarded the Nobel for their genome editing research on Crispr-Cas9, a tool “which can alter the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with high precision,” per the New York Times.

This win marks the first time a science Nobel has been awarded to two women. Charpentier and Doudna are only the sixth and seventh women to receive this particular prize, which recently rose to over $1.1 million.

“This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life,” Goran K. Hansson, the secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said during the announcement. According to the NYT, since conducting their research in 2012, the Crispr tool has been used for everything from developing cures for genetic diseases to modifying crops.

Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer Doudna after receiving the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Reseach

SPAIN-ASTURIAS-AWARDS-CHARPENTIER-DOUDNA

Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer Doudna after receiving the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Reseach
MIGUEL RIOPA

“This technology has utterly transformed the way we do research in basic science,” said Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. “I am thrilled to see Crispr-Cas getting the recognition we have all been waiting for, and seeing two women being recognized as Nobel laureates.”

However, Charpentier and Doudna aren't the only women in STEM being honored by the Nobel Foundation. On Tuesday, October 6, Andrea Ghez, Ph.D., became the fourth woman to take home the Nobel Prize in Physics for her decades of work studying and discovering black holes.

As for our Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners, Charpentier, 51, is a French microbiologist working as the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, while Doudna, 56, is an American biochemist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Per the NYT, Charpentier said she hopes her win will inspire young women “to follow the path of science.” The pair met at a café in Puerto Rico in 2011 while attending a conference, according to the Nobel committee, and published their Crispr-Cas9 “genetic scissors” just a year later.

Now that's an Academy Award–winning movie pitch if I've ever heard one.

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Originally Appeared on Glamour