In an earlier post, I shed light on how scientists are becoming a major part of the pharma/biotech economy. Now, as opposed to years past, they have an audience willing to learn about what they are putting out on to the open market.

With seemingly rare haunting diseases/illnesses popping up every other month, the desire to be healthy is stronger than ever. With the healthcare industry worth over $3 trillion and the pharmaceutical industry at around $300 billion, these are the industries that will be around no matter what.

Scientists are the ones hard at work each day in the laboratory concocting the formulations and manipulations of chemicals, so their everyday lives are pretty set on a routine schedule. However, it’s nice to see their work get the recognition that it deserves.

Back in December, some of Hollywood’s biggest names gathered at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in Silicon Valley, where Graydon Carter co-hosted an awards ceremony for the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Physics and Life Sciences. Celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, Mark Zuckerberg, Rob Lowe and Anna Kendrick were on hand to celebrate the six winners of awards in life sciences and the two that were awarded in physics.

“It’s great that people are paying more attention to science,” said Larry Page, the co-founder of Google.

Actress Anna Kendrick attended the awards ceremony said that she had been talking to two scientists and they had no idea who she was at first.

“In Hollywood, someone’s going to give you two kisses on the cheek and pretend that they remember you,” she said. “Here, someone is straight up going to ask you who you are and what you’re doing here, and I love it. It’s hard facts with these guys.”

Each winner was awarded $3 million, which makes the prize one of the most lucrative in the world. In comparison, the Nobel award winners earn $1.2 million their efforts.

In 2013, the oldest known human DNA was analyzed and this signifies just exactly how far the pharma/biotech industry has come. The DNA came from a hominid thighbone found in Spain that was from around 400,000 years. Before that, the oldest human DNA that was found was from only 100,000 years back.

Back in April, President Obama announced a project would be underway to map the human brain. The National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) is scheduled to begin this year. The purpose of the project is to understand brain circuitry, which scientists hope will improve treatments for disorders like Alzheimer’s. A long-term funding plan is expected in June 2014.

We must give our thanks and remember those scientists who passed away that made significant impacts:

  • Jane Cooke Wright, a pioneer in chemotherapy, 93
  • Zora Brown, an important pioneer of breast cancer awareness in the African-American community, 63
  • Francois Jacob, a bacterial geneticist who helped start the study of gene regulation, 92
  • Obaid Siddiqi, one of the founders of modern biology in India, 81
  • Peter Huttenlocher, a neurologist who discovered that synapse growth peaks in early childhood, 82

Throughout 2014, we’ll be interviewing up-and-coming scientists and those who are attempting to discover the next big thing. Submit reasons why your plan should be unveiled to the world, and why it’s going to be the story that we’re talking about when 2014 is all said and done.

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