New Yorker Named One of Three Winners of Nobel Prize

Dr. Martin Chalfie helped isolate GFP -- Green Fluorescent Protein, a substance that makes certain jellyfish glow. It can be used to explore human cells.

CHALFIE: If you’re interested in trying to understand the basis of infection, and you want to know when a mouse is infected by a bacterium, you can make it so the bacterium is labeled by GFP and you can follow the infection

REPORTER: Chalfie said the illumination is a little bit like a black light in a 1970s disco.

He told reporters that he was woken up by a faint phone call he thought was in someone else’s apartment, and that he then turned on a computer and found out online that he had won the prize.

He said the first thing he did was call a friend who had also won a Nobel to find out how he could sign on to a public letter of laureates who support the presidential bid of Barack Obama.