The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, has decided to award the Nobel Prize in medicine for 2010 to Robert G. Edwards 'for the development of in vitro fertilisation.'
Robert G. Edwards was born in 1925 in Manchester, England. After military service in the Second World War, he studied biology at the University of Wales in Bangor and at Edinburgh University in Scotland, where he received his PhD in 1955 with a Thesis on embryonal development in mice. He became a staff scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London in 1958 and initiated his research on the human fertilisation process. From 1963, Edwards worked in Cambridge, first at its university and later at Bourn Hall Clinic, the world's first IVF centre, which he founded together with Patrick Steptoe. Edwards was its research director for many years and he was also the editor of several leading scientific journals in the area of fertilisation. Robert Edwards is currently professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge.
Last year, the Nobel Prize in medicine went to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak 'for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.'
The Nobel Prizes are awarded for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. The first five prizes were instituted by the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel through his will in 1895. With the exception of the peace prize, which is handed out in Oslo, they are all handed out in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December.