Decades of research notebooks from Carolina’s first Nobel laureate available online

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Decades of research notebooks from Carolina’s first Nobel laureate available online


Archivists digitize nearly 50 years of prize-winning work documented by hand


(Chapel Hill, N.C.— Nov. 14, 2016) – Decades of scientific research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s first Nobel prize winner are now available for anyone to view online.


Since his time as a graduate student, Dr. Oliver Smithies has kept hand-written notebooks to log and track his pioneering work. Now, with the help of the University Archives in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library, those notebooks have been digitized and are available to visit at Viewers can flip through thousands of pages and see Smithies’ scientific process unfold.


“These diaries are a real treasure for anyone interested in science or the extraordinary level of dedication and commitment it takes to build a career as brilliant as Dr. Smithies’,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Thanks to Carolina’s archivists, we can view his personal notes spanning a lifetime of work that inspires us all.”


Smithies, the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, was named a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. In the mid-1980s Smithies co-discovered a technique for gene targeting. This allowed researchers to study diseases with specificity like never before.


“They have a record of what an everyday scientist is doing for a lifetime,” said Dr. Smithies. “It’s a continuous record which I thought was probably rather rare, and that’s the reason I thought they may be of value to somebody sometime.”


At the age of 91, Smithies faithfully continues his research in his laboratory in the School of Medicine.


A text story and video about the digitized notebooks can be viewed here.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 317,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.



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