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US Nobel winner criticises politics at home and voices science support concerns

An American researcher who shared this year's Nobel Prize for medicine has bluntly criticised political developments at home in his address at the awards' gala banquet.

Michael Rosbash, who was honoured for his work on circadian rhythms - commonly called the body clock - expressed concern that US government support such as that received by him and colleagues Jeffrey Hall and Michael Young is endangered.

"We benefited from an enlightened period in the postwar United States. Our National Institutes of Health have enthusiastically and generously supported basic research ... (but) the current climate in the US is a warning that continued support cannot be taken for granted," he said in a short speech at the ornate city hall in Stockholm.

The 2018 federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump calls for cutting science funding by billions of dollars

Mr Rosbash said: "Also in danger is the pluralistic America into which all three of us were born and raised after World War II.

"Immigrants and foreigners have always been an indispensable part of our country, including its great record in scientific research."

British literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro earlier expressed concern about increasing tensions between social factions.

"We live today in a time of growing tribal enmities of communities fracturing into bitterly opposed groups," said Ishiguro, who was born in Japan.

He said Nobel prizes can counterbalance such animosity.

"The pride we feel when someone from our nation wins a Nobel prize is different from the one we feel witnessing one of our athletes winning an Olympic medal, Ishiguro said.

"We don't feel the pride of our tribe demonstrating superiority over other tribes. Rather it's the pride that from knowing that one of us has made a significant contribution to our common human endeavour."

In the Norwegian capital of Oslo, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima compared her struggle to survive in 1945 to the objectives of the group awarded this year's Nobel's Peace Prize.

Setsuko Thurlow, who was 13 when the US bomb devastated her Japanese city during the final weeks of World War II, spoke as a leading activist with the Nobel-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Ms Thurlow said the Hiroshima blast left her buried under the rubble, but she was able to see light and crawl to safety.

In the same way, the campaign to which she belongs is a driving force behind an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons, she said after ICAN received the Nobel prize it won in October.

"Our light now is the ban treaty," Ms Thurlow said. "I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: 'Don't give up. Keep pushing. See the light? Crawl toward it.'"

The treaty has been signed by 56 countries - none of them nuclear powers - and ratified by only three. To become binding it requires ratification by 50 countries.

ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn, who accepted the prize along with Ms Thurlow, said that while the treaty is far from ratification "now, at long last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons".

"This is the way forward. There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons - prohibit and eliminate them," Ms Fihn said.

The prize winners were announced in October. All except the peace prize were awarded in Sweden on Sunday.

The other laureates were Briton Richard Henderson, Jacques Dubochet of Switzerland and American Joachim Frank for advances in electron microscopy; American Richard Thaler for his work in behavioural economics and American physicists Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish for confirming the existence of gravity waves.

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