Thought it was a joke, says scientist who won Nobel

October 6th, 2011 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Oct 6 (IANS) Jules Hoffmann, one of the three scientists who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for medicine, initially “thought it was a joke, just a mistake” when he heard the news here.

The Luxembourg-born French national had to cut short his trip to China and he flew back to France.

Hoffmann was in Shanghai when he was told of the Nobel Committee’s decision Monday night.

“I was enjoying the firework shows at Century Park in Pudong with my wife when my Chinese friend, Professor Cao Meixun, told me about the Nobel Prize,” Hoffmann told Shanghai Daily.

“I then thought it was a joke, just a mistake, and I couldn’t believe it.”

The scientist was to deliver a lecture at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, but that was cancelled.

He, however, promised he would return.

“I am already impressed by the increase of research in quality and quantity in China,” Hoffmann was quoted as saying.

Hoffmann said his research into the immunity of insects could enable scientists to find a cure for human disorders.

He shares the Nobel Prize for medicine with fellow scientists American Bruce Beutler and Canadian Ralph Steinman, who died last week.

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