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Major Events of 1925
US Open (Golf): Willie MacFarlane Score: 297 Course: Worcester CC Location: Worcester, MA
World Series: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Twins Series: 4-3
ZSIGMONDY, RICHARD ADOLF, Germany, Goettingen University, b. 1865 (in Vienna, Austria), d. 1929: "for his demonstration of the heterogenous nature of colloid solutions and for the methods he used, which have since become fundamental in modern colloid chemistry"
SHAW, GEORGE BERNARD, Great Britain, b. 1856 (in Dublin, Ireland), d. 1950: "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"
The prize was awarded jointly to: CHAMBERLAIN, Sir AUSTEN, Great Britain, b. 1863, d. 1937: Foreign Minister. Negotiator of the Locarno Treaty. DAWES, CHARLES GATES, USA, b. 1865, d. 1951: Vice-President of the United States of America. Chairman of the Allied Reparation Commission. Originator of the Dawes Plan .
Physiology or Medicine
The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.
FRANCK, JAMES, Germany, Goettingen University, b. 1882, d. 1964; and HERTZ, GUSTAV, Germany, Halle University, b. 1887, d. 1975: "for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom"
Drama: Sidney Howard ... "They Knew What They Wanted"
Fiction: Edna Ferber ... "So Big"
History: Frederick L. Paxton ... "A History of the American Frontier"
Each Nobel Prize consists of a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and a sum of money, the amount of which depends on the income of the Nobel Foundation. A Nobel Prize is either given entirely to one person, divided equally between two persons, or shared by three persons. In the latter case, each of the three persons can receive a one-third share of the prize or two together can receive a one-half share. Sometimes a prize is withheld until the following year if not then awarded, it is paid back into the funds, which happens also when a prize is neither awarded nor reserved. Two prizes in the same field—i.e., the prize withheld from the previous year and the current year’s prize—can thus be awarded in one year. If a prize is declined or not accepted before a set date, the prize money goes back into the funds. Some prizes have been declined by their winners, and in certain instances governments have refused to allow their citizens to accept them. Those who win a prize are nevertheless entered into the list of Nobel laureates with the remark “declined the prize.” Motives for nonacceptance may vary, but most often the reason has been external pressure for example, in 1937 Adolf Hitler forbade Germans in the future from accepting Nobel Prizes because he had been infuriated by the award of the 1935 Peace Prize to the anti-Nazi journalist Carl von Ossietzky, who at the time was a political prisoner in Germany. In some cases, the refuser later explained the real reason behind the refusal and was granted the Nobel gold medal and the diploma—but not the money, which invariably reverts to the funds after a certain period of time.
Prizes are withheld or not awarded when no worthy candidate in the meaning of Nobel’s will can be found or when the world situation prevents the gathering of information required to reach a decision, as happened during World Wars I and II. The prizes are open to all, irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology. They can be awarded more than once to the same recipient. The ceremonial presentations of the awards for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and economics take place in Stockholm, and that for peace takes place in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The laureates usually receive their prizes in person, and each presents a lecture in connection with the award ceremonies.
The general principles governing awards were laid down by Alfred Nobel in his will. In 1900 supplementary rules of interpretation and administration were agreed upon between the executors, representatives of the prize-awarding institutions, and the Nobel family and were confirmed by the king in council. These statutory rules have on the whole remained unchanged but have been somewhat modified in application. For example, Nobel’s stipulation that the prizes be awarded for achievements made during “the preceding year” was obviously unworkable in regard to scientists and even writers, the true significance of whose discoveries, research, or writings might not be generally apparent for several years. Nobel’s ambiguous stipulation that the literature prize be awarded to the authors of works of an “idealistic tendency” was interpreted strictly in the beginning but has gradually been interpreted more flexibly. The basis for the economics award was scientific—i.e., mathematical or statistical, rather than political or social.
The Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine have generally been the least controversial, while those for literature and peace have been, by their very nature, the most exposed to critical differences. The Peace Prize has been the prize most frequently reserved or withheld.
Nobel Prize Awards by Gender in each Category
The breakdown of Nobel prize wins by gender and by category suggests that women have been deemed better suited for "soft" and "humane" endeavors, such as literature and peace, while males were considered more gifted for the "hard", "no-nonsense" scientific work, such as physics or chemistry. Indeed, 29.3% of all Nobel awards received by women were for peace ྪ.3% for males) and 27.6% for literature ྫ.5% for males). As for men, the highest percents were in physics and physiology, with about 24% of all male-awarded Nobel prizes in each discipline, followed by chemistry with a little more than 20%.
The question is how should these ratios be interpreted? Are they a reliable indicator of intellectual ability, or rather a mere sociological indicator of a male-centered bias? The answer would require further investigation, but asking it is already the beginning of an answer.
The 10 Noblest Nobel Prize Winners of All Time
The 2011 Nobel Prizes are being handed out this week. So far, the prize for physiology or medicine has gone to a trio of researchers who uncovered various aspects of the nature of immunity, and the physics prize has gone to a trio of physicists who discovered in the late 1990s that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
These achievements are great indeed, and the winners join a list of some of humanity's finest representatives. Here's a sampling of notable Nobel Prize recipients of the past, and what they accomplished. [Gallery of notable winners]
Who better to kick off this list than perhaps the most famous scientist in the history of the world? Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for discovering the cause of the "photoelectric effect." This was a perplexing phenomenon in which atoms, when bombarded with light, emitted electrons. In 1905, Einstein argued that light was divided into discrete packets (which we now call photons). He theorized that, when these light packets struck atoms, electrons in those atoms absorbed them, and, with the extra energy, wrested free of the atoms that bound them.
The fact that light is composed of particles that are absorbed and emitted by atoms was just one of Einstein's many revolutionary discoveries. He also came up with the theories of special and general relativity, and discovered that matter and energy are equivalent (as embodied in the equation E=mc²). A true polymath &mdash within science, at least &mdash he even wrote a paper explaining why the average "meandering ratio" of a river &mdash the ratio of its length to the distance between its source and mouth as the crow flies &mdash is equal to pi.
Marie Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, and is one of only two people in the history of the Nobels to win in two different fields. She and her husband Pierre, along with Henri Becquerel, won the Physics Prize in 1903 for their discovery of radioactivity. She then won for chemistry in 1911 for discovering the elements radium and polonium and investigating their properties. [What Everyday Things Around Us Are Radioactive?]
The Curies are the darlings of the Nobel Prizes. On top of Marie and Pierre's wins, their daughter Irene Joliot-Curie received the chemistry prize in 1935 together with her husband, Frédéric. And Henry Labouisse, the husband of Marie Curie's second daughter, was the director of UNICEF when the international organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
Sir Alexander Fleming & Co.
The 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst Chain and Sir Howard Florey for their discovery of penicillin, a fungus, and its use as an antibiotic.
Common wisdom has it that Sir Alexander made the discovery accidentally when he ate a piece of moldy bread and became cured of an infectious disease. The grain of truth in the story is that the discovery was indeed an accident. Fleming went away on vacation in August 1928 and returned to his laboratory in early September to discover that a fungus had developed in a stack of Petri dishes containing bacteria. The bacteria had died in the dishes immediately surrounding the fungus, while bacteria in the dishes farther away were unaffected.
Fleming spent the next couple of decades investigating the antibacterial effects of what he at first called "mould juice" and later named "penicillin" after the fungus' genus (Penicillium). Chain and Florey contributed by conducting rigorous clinical trials that proved the great usefulness of penicillin and figuring out how to purify and produce it in bulk.
Penicillin cures staph infections, scarlet fever, gonorrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, diphtheria, syphilis and other serious infectious diseases.
In 1946, an American named Hermann Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that radiation causes mutations. A biologist by training, he spent the 1920s investigating the effects of X-rays on various organisms and in 1926 found a clear link between radiation exposure and lethal mutations. In the following years, Muller worked tirelessly to publicize the grave dangers of radiation exposure. When his work was recognized by the Nobel Committee, it drew public attention to the health effects of nuclear fallout, especially in the wake of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For the remainder of his life, Muller was a leading voice in the campaign against nuclear weapons testing and worked to diffuse the threat of nuclear war. [How Many Genetic Mutations Do I Have?]
Watson, Crick & Wilkins
Francis Crick and James Watson won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for their discovery that DNA is shaped like a double helix. Maurice Wilkins shared the prize with them for producing some of the earliest evidence in support of their claim &mdash he used a technique called X-ray crystallography to map out the shape of the DNA molecule.
Their prize remains controversial because of who was left off the list of honorees. Watson and Crick formed their hypothesis on the shape of DNA in 1953 only after analyzing an X-ray diffraction image of DNA taken by a biophysicist named Rosalind Franklin a year earlier. (The image was shown to Watson and Crick without her knowledge.) Franklin had already written a draft of her paper on the helical form of DNA before Watson and Crick wrote theirs, but her contributions were overlooked for years. Franklin was never able to make her case to the Nobel Committee. Watson, Crick and Wilkins received the honor four years after she died. [New World Record: Largest Human DNA Helix]
The International Committee of the Red Cross has won the most Nobel Prizes of any one entity or person. It won Peace Prizes in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the First and Second World Wars, and a third Peace Prize in 1963, along with the League of Red Cross Societies, marking the 100th anniversary of its founding.
During the world wars, the Red Cross visited and monitored the POW camps of all warring parties, organized relief assistance for civilian populations, and administered the exchange of messages regarding hundreds of thousands of prisoners and missing persons.
At 35, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize when his work to end racial discrimination in the United States through nonviolent means was recognized in 1964. His "I Have a Dream" speech, which he delivered one year earlier from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 200,000, was but one of many famous and influential speeches King gave as a leader in the civil rights movement.
Heisenberg received the physics prize in 1932 for discovering the underlying principles of quantum mechanics, the rules that govern the behavior of subatomic particles.
Quantum mechanics completely changed our understanding of reality. It says that light, electrons, atoms and, indeed, all things act simultaneously like particles and like waves. The so-called "uncertainty principle" follows from that it states that it is impossible to know with perfect accuracy both a particle's position and its velocity. Know where a particle is, and you have no idea where it is going, or how fast. Yet another curious aspect of quantum mechanics is that it shows there is no reality &mdash at least not on the atomic scale &mdash that exists independently of our observations of it.
Sartre was one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy, particularly Marxism and existentialism. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying he did not wish to be "transformed" by such an award and did not want to take sides in an East vs. West cultural struggle by accepting an award from a prominent Western cultural institution.
Sartre published his treatise on existentialism, "Being and Nothingness," in 1943. Together, he and French author Albert Camus (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957) popularized the existentialist movement, which emphasized the experience of living rather than focusing on universal truths or moral obligations.
Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950. She spent the next 45 years ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while overseeing the Missionaries of Charity's gradual expansion throughout and beyond India. At the time of her death in 1997, there were 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV, leprosy and tuberculosis soup kitchens children's and family counseling programs orphanages and schools.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Following her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II &mdash made a saint &mdash and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
This article was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow us on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook. Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover.
The present book discusses the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine 1966-68. The 1966 prize recognized that viruses may be involved in cancer formation. Later studies revealed that these kinds of infectious agents could pick up and transmit cellular genes of importance for regulation of cellular growth. It was then possible to recognize that many genes of this kind could be involved in the formation of cancer. The disease was found to represent the dark side of evolution. As a consequence of this insight new means of treatment fortunately have been developed.
The rear parts of the eyes are extensions of the central nervous system. They have a fascinating intrinsic complexity, the neurophysiology and biochemistry of which has been progressively analyzed. These revealing studies concern both our capacity to distinguish different colors and also our possibility to see in the dark. The Prize in 1967 identified seminal contributions in this wide field by Ragnar Granit, Haldan Hartline and George Wald.
The 1968 Prize is distinct in its recognition of Robert Holley, Ghobind Khorana and Marshall Nirenberg, who in different ways had contributed to the cracking of the genetic code. Insights into the language used by Nature, since the dawn of cellular life some 4.6 billion years ago, have completely revolutionized modern life sciences. The capacity to read and also to write the books of life has defined new kinds of science, deepening our understanding of the magic of evolution and opened the possibilities for molecular medicine by understanding the genetic background to diseases, not least cancer.
- The Long Wait
- Hormone Treatment of Tumors and the Prize Events in 1966
- Rous Virus and the Elucidation of the Genetic Nature of Cancer
- The Rock Foundation of Nobel Prize Developments
- Visionary Contributions Gave a Happy Trio
- The Prime Author of the Saga of the Genetic Code
- The Formation of a Trio for the 1968 Prize
- To See the Invisible and to Read the Unprinted
Chapter 1: The Long Wait
The precision and versatility of Nature is remarkable. Cell division is at the heart of all organic matter. It allows for replication in a highly faithful manner. This stability depends on the impressive fidelity of duplication of the central information-carrying molecule, the DNA. The error in insertion of a proper matching nucleotide in the double-stranded molecule, remarkably, is only one in a million. And still there are errors. These may be detrimental to the function of cells and potentially cause disease in multicellular organisms, but accidentally they may sometimes also be of value. The progress of evolution depends on such mistakes…
Chapter 2: Hormone Treatment of Tumors and the Prize Events in 1966
At the beginning of the twentieth century cancer was a serious and frequently lethal disease among many other equally life threatening diseases. The relative importance of cancer has increased not least in industrialized countries because of improved longevity and major advances in treatment of other medical illnesses. The introduction of antibiotics and prophylactic use of vaccines to prevent infectious diseases as well as major improvements in management of coronary heart diseases have been critical. In some countries death from cancer today even supersedes that caused by the latter kind of afflictions. In the course of the previous century there have been a number of discoveries in biology and medicine that have progressively, and sometimes dramatically, changed our understanding of the mechanisms of cancer development. Many of these advances have been recognized by Nobel Prizes after the award to Rous and Huggins in 1966. To a large extent the revolutionary insights have become possible because of the introduction of techniques of molecular biology. But let us first see how it all started. The selected samples given will refer to various relevant Nobel Prizes awarded or in a few cases discoveries potentially worthy of a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. To get the full story it is worth consulting leading books on this topic, be they the more popular, already mentioned, The Emperor of All Maladies. A Biography of Cancer or a modern textbook like The Biology of Cancer. The early means of treatment were surgery and irradiation with X-rays. At a somewhat later stage chemotherapy and immunotherapy were introduced…
Chapter 3: Rous Virus and the Elucidation of the Genetic Nature of Cancer
In the middle of his Nobel lecture Rous stated…
Chapter 4: The Rock Foundation of Nobel Prize Developments
The world we live in regionally may give the impression of providing a stable ground, terra firma. However, this impression sometimes needs to be modified depending on where we are on the globe and also which reference of time we apply. One of the first problems to be approached by the newly created Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1739 was the question of the progressive alterations of the coastal profile of the country. Significant changes in the water level could be observed even within a lifespan of a human. Valuable natural harbors in the archipelagoes could turn unusable in a few generations, affecting conditions of fishing. The question was if the land was rising or if the water level was being reduced? When it was discovered that the changes noted clearly varied along the extensive Swedish coast the answer was obvious. It was the land that was rising. This was soon deduced to be due to the pressure that the heavy inland ice existing some 10,000 years ago had applied. Not only did the ice suppress the rocks, in some places it also polished them to a silk-like texture. In some areas the height that the land has risen in recent times is quite impressive. At the island of Blidö in the northern part of the Stockholm archipelago, where my family has its summer houses, it is about 60 centimeters in 100 years. Thus what were two rocks that barely reached above the water level when I was a child has now developed into an island with grass and bushes. It can be added that the expected rise of the water level because of global warming will have essentially no effects in some parts of the east coast of Sweden because it is compensated for by the land elevation…
Chapter 5: Visionary Contributions Gave a Happy Trio
The evolution of life on Earth is a magnificent story. The principles by which this had occurred did not become apparent until after the book The Origin of Species was published by Charles Darwin in 1859. Since then our insights into how different forms of life have emerged and developed have grown immensely. It is a fascinating story. As conditions on Earth have changed new forms of life have emerged. Originally development took place in the oceans and the existence of some kind of simple cellular life has been identified as far back as 3.8 billion years ago. Reading the books of life provide facts on genetic relationships as mentioned in my previous books on Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine. Comparison of differences between various species by use of genome characterizations has sometimes given surprising insights. New forms of life are continuously being unraveled and new unexpected relationships are identified. We start to get an insight into the early developments of life not least by studies of viruses and microorganism, which we shall briefly return to in the last chapter of this book…
Chapter 6: The Prime Author of the Saga of the Genetic Code
The revolutionary discovery of the unique equidistant pairing between the nucleotide bases guanine and cytosine and adenine and thymine led Watson and Crick to propose the double-strand structure of DNA in 1953. This momentous finding had two major consequences. The first one was that the structure allowed a semi-conservative replication preserving the complementary sequence of nucleotides for succeeding generations of cells. Separating the two strands and building a new complementary strand provided two copies of the double-helix, identical to the parent molecule. The second major implication was that the existence of four different bases offered a potential insight into the information storage and the language used by nature to control protein synthesis and metabolism in general. The question of coding and the possible access to a Rosetta Stone for deciphering the language used by nature was raised soon after the discovery. However, several fundamental questions first needed to be answered…
Chapter 7: The Formation of a Trio for the 1968 Prize
The lead character of the previous chapter Nirenberg, could easily have carried a Nobel Prize in chemistry or in physiology or medicine on his own. However, in 1968 he was joined by Robert W. Holley and H. Gobind Khorana for the prize. Let us trace why the Nobel Committee at the Karolinska Institute preferred a prize including all three of them. At the earlier time of writing about the 1968 prize I was communicating with the only surviving member of the committee at the Karolinska Institute at the time, Reichard. He was a very central person in connection with the prize for the genetic code. As has already become apparent he was the main reviewer of the candidates both at the Karolinska Institute and also at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. When the prize was awarded he was selected to be the introductory speaker at the prize ceremony. On May 30, 2018 I received an email from him starting and finishing with a few words in Swedish, but mainly using English. It read…
Chapter 8: To See the Invisible and to Read the Unprinted
Humans are a curious species. Already early in civilization it was noticed that water could change the angle of light. When glass was first produced some 2,000 years ago it was observed that this material too could bend light. The first lenses were produced and were given their name because of similarity in form to a bean, Latin lentil. It took some thousand years before the first eye glasses were produced but in between the Basra-born Arab polymath Hasan Ibn al-Haytham, Latinized to Alhazen had described the fundamentals of optics. As we have learnt in Chapters 4 and 5, what we see is light that has bounced off the objects filling our surroundings. Alhazen was a prominent representative of what is referred to as the Islamic Golden Age. He should also be mentioned because he may have been the first proponent of the scientific method in which a hypothesis is proven by experiments or by confirmatory mathematical procedures. This concept was reintroduced with force by the later Renaissance researchers launching the modern era of science-based societal developments. Galileo Galilee is considered as the pioneer in this field. He used his primitive binoculars to identify four moons circulating around Jupiter and this led to the revolutionary change from an Earth-centric to a heliocentric view of our solar system. Whereas Galileo looked outwards another scientist of the 17th century looked inwards…
Erling Norrby has an MD and PhD from the Karolinska Institute, the School of Medicine, Stockholm. He was the professor of virology and chairman at the Institute for 25 years. During that time he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for 6 years and was deeply involved in the work on Nobel prizes in physiology or medicine for 20 years. After leaving the Institute he became Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for six years. During this time he had overriding responsibility for the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry and was a member of the Board of the Nobel Foundation. Presently he is at the Center for the History of Sciences at the Academy and in 2010 he published the book Nobel Prizes and Life Sciences, in 2013 a second book Nobel Prizes and Nature's Surprises, and in 2016 a third book Nobel Prizes and Notable Discoveries. In addition he is currently Vice-Chairman of the Board of the J Craig Venter Institute. He also has one of the leading functions at the Royal Swedish Court as Lord Chamberlain-in-Waiting.
How do you win a Nobel Prize?
Few scientists experience the unique honor of receiving an unexpected phone call with a foreign voice on the other line. At first, such an event may seem like more of an annoyance than anything else. But once the message becomes clear -- that they've won the Nobel Prize -- life won't be the same.
When 1996 Nobel laureate Peter Doherty got a phone call at 4 a.m. in his Tennessee home, his first reaction was that something had happened to his parents in Australia. Instead, he was told he had won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The committee gave him a 10-minute head start on the media. After that, the phone rang constantly -- Doherty and his family were shocked [source: Doherty].
The Nobel Prizes -- a set of awards honoring the best work in physics, literature, chemistry, medicine, peace and economics -- are viewed as the highest intellectual honor in the world. Alfred Nobel, peace advocate and inventor of dynamite, left the money for the first five awards in his will. In 1901, the Nobel prizes were born.
But what does it take to win a Nobel Prize?
Though there's no clear formula for success, there are certain traits common to many Nobel laureates. Above all, the prize favors people who seek to advance human knowledge or create solutions to the world's problems, with accomplishments ranging from Robert Koch's discovery of the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis to Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s.
People who create paradigm shifts, or major shifts in thinking for a field, are more likely to receive a Nobel Prize for their work. For instance, it would be tough to imagine where theoretical physics would be without Albert Einstein's contributions that earned him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921.
One way to boost your chances of scoring a Nobel is by placing yourself close to the research at hand. Ralph Steinman, a recent winner who passed away from pancreatic cancer, was so engrossed in his cancer vaccine research that he developed and tested an experimental treatment on himself in the years building up to the award [source: Altman and Wade].
In the prize's science categories, the people actually conducting the research typically win the Nobel. The Nobel Peace Prize, however, has a history of being awarded to people who are more leaderlike in their preservation of peace (think Obama in 2009) [source: NobelPrize.org].
How the person communicates with the public matters, too. Winners typically are well-versed in their field, with some even taking the extra step to explain their work to nonspecialists and general audiences. People who win the prizes don't usually strive for the honor. Instead, they're immersed in their fields and passionate about making a difference in the world.
Think you have what it takes to earn a Nobel? Find out -- next.
Nobel Laureates: Not Your Average Joes
To get yourself in a position for that Nobel Prize, it's good to know the type of folks who have won the awards in the past. It's worth mentioning that you can't nominate yourself for a Nobel Prize. Instead, the selection committees, from institutions specifically chosen in Alfred Nobel's will, collect nominations from prestigious contributors in the field who are well-connected and able to recommend others. There's no limit on the number of times a person can be nominated. For example, women's suffrage and peace advocate Jane Addams' name came up 91 times before she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 [source: NobelPrize.org].
Depending on the type of award, a selection committee will choose winners from the nominations sent in. Committees in Sweden handle selections of all awards except the peace prize, which Alfred Nobel had requested a Norwegian committee be in charge of. For most awards, such as those given for physics, the deadline is February of each year, and winners are chosen in October [source: NobelPrize.org]. Nobel prizes aren't awarded to deceased individuals, unless the recipient dies between the time he or she is notified and the award ceremony a few months later [source: Altman and Wade].
But there's some debate about how the Nobel Prize committee selects winners. Beginning in the 1960s, some have argued that the process to select winners is subjective based on the preferences of a select few people on the committees [source: Garfield and Malin]. Another argument is that the awards favor individual careers over individual accomplishments. Many Nobel laureates receive the awards years after their most famous work, mostly because it could take years to see how a line of work ended up having a large impact. This isn't always the case, though. For example, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev received a Nobel Peace Prize shortly following his decisions that would lead to the end of the Cold War [source: NobelPrize.org].
On the academic front, researchers in a position to win the Nobel Prize usually publish more in peer-reviewed journals and are more likely to collaborate with others in the field. Still, there should be evidence that the person's work has had an impact on the scientific community -- for example, the number of citations a journal article has is somewhat indicative of its impact. One estimate suggests the top 0.1 percent of people most cited in their fields typically have a better shot at the Nobel [source: Pendlebury]. The committee also tends to view papers and experiments that stimulate additional research as beneficial.
Learn more about the prestigious Nobel awards next as you mull over your prizewinning strategy.
Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller: How Narratives Drive Major Economic Events and Shape History
Co-hosted by Princeton University Press, Sequoia Capital, and Yale Center Beijing. This talk is part of the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium.
August 12, 2020 | Wednesday
8:00 am - 9:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
August 12, 2020 | Wednesday
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm China Standard Time (CST)
Registration is required to obtain a ZOOM Conference access link, which will be sent to your registration email or phone shortly. Please enter ZOOM room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the ZOOM conference.
Registration and Fees
Participants within China can click “HERE” further below to register. Participants from outside of China can use the following link to register:
The event is open to public, but the number of participants will be capped. Successful registrants will be notified on a first-come first-served basis, with priority to those with a Yale affiliation. Only successful registrants will be able to participate in this event.
Attention: Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.
The language of the event will be English, with simultaneous translation into Chinese.
On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 8:00pm-9:00pm (China time), we are delighted to host 2013 Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences, Yale Professor Robert Shiller, on a first-ever talk on the evolution of his pioneering work and ideas. During this event, he will describe the common threads among the seven groundbreaking books that he has published with Princeton University Press – Irrational Exuberance, The New Financial Order, The Subprime Solution, Finance and the Good Society, Animal Spirits, Phishing for Phools, ending with Narrative Economics. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from and pose questions to one of the foremost intellectuals of our times.
Robert J. Shiller Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University 2013 Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences
Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1967 and his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. He has written on financial markets, financial innovation, behavioral economics, macroeconomics, real estate, statistical methods, and on public attitudes, opinions, and moral judgments regarding markets. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen in 2013.
Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. the Yale Center Beijing is pleased to host the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium, which will convene thought leaders from all sectors who, in the spirit of Mr. Greenberg, play pivotal roles in building bridges among China, the U.S., and the rest of the world.
Mr. Greenberg has been a member of Yale Center Beijing’s Executive Council and retired as the Chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG). In 2018, he was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal.
Ireland’s greatest and brightest – the nation’s Nobel laureates
The island of Ireland, as ever punching above its weight, has ten distinguished parties named among the laureates.
Here are the Irish Nobel laureates, from south and north of the border:
Originally from Foxrock, Dublin, the avant-garde novelist, playwright, director, and poet, lived in Paris for most of his adult life. His works, in both English and French, offer a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor. Beckett is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and one of the last modernists.
He was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation."
Seamus Heaney, born in Castledawson, County Derry, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.
A poet, playwright, translator and lecturer, Heaney, who passed away in 2013, was a literary rock star. His nickname was “Famous Seamus.”
In the 1960s Heaney became a lecturer in Belfast, where he had been a student at Queens University. He was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997and the Poet in Residence from 1988 to 2006. From 1989 to 1994 he was also the Professor of Poetry at Oxford and in 1996 he was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres.
John Hume and David Trimble were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 due to their efforts in the 1998 Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement).
A former politician from Derry, Hume was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party. He led the party from 1979 to 2001 and served as a Member of the European Parliament and a Member of Parliament for Foyle, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Hume is regarded as one of the most important figures in Ireland’s recent political history and one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process.
He is the only person to have received the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Martin Luther King Award and the Nobel Prize all for his work in bringing about peace. He was also voted the greatest person in Irish history by a recently RTE poll of the public.
Once an Irish government minister, a prominent international politician and a former Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army, McBride founded or participated in many international organizations of the 20th century. These included the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Amnesty International.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974, the Lenin Peace Prize for 1975 to 1976, and the UNESCO Silver Medal for Service in 1980.
Maguire and Betty Williams were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
Mairead Maguire, from Belfast, is a peace activist and co-founder with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown of the Community for Peace People, an organization dedicated to encouraging a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw, the playwright, was also the co-founder of the London School of Economics.
He was the only person to have been awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1925, and an Academy Award, in 1938, for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film “Pygmalion” (an adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively. He turned down all other awards and honors, including a knighthood.
Shaw made his money writing music and literary criticism but his main talent was drama. He wrote more than 60 plays as well as essays, novels, and short stories.
Born in Bangor, County Down, David Trimble was the First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002 and the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005.
He was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the Belfast Agreement in 1998 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that year for his efforts, alongside John Hume.
Ernest Walton was an Irish physicist and Nobel laureate for his work with John Cockcroft and their "atom-smashing" experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s. He became the first person in history to artificially split the atom, thus ushering in the nuclear age.
Betty Williams shared a Nobel Peace Prize with her fellow Belfast woman Mairead Maguire, as co-founder of the Community for Peace People, an organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
She heads up the Global Children's Foundation and is the President of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International. She is also the Chair of the Institute for Asian Democracy in Washington D.C. and a distinguished visiting professor at Nova Southeastern University.
In 2006 Williams was one of the founders of the Nobel Women's Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates – Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum. The group aims to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality.
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, born in Dublin, was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature.
In 1923 he became the first Irishman to be honored with the Nobel Prize. The committee described his work as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation."
He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and was a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theater.
The origins of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union can be traced to a heated argument at a Des Moines Presbyterian church. From that argument, a one-of-a-kind organization was founded and continues to serve high school girls like no other activity organization in the United States.
Iowa was one of the few states in the 1920s where girls could play high school basketball, and its popularity began to thrive in Iowa’s rural schools. However, the state’s larger schools did not have the same the enthusiasm, and people had concerns over the merits of girls participating in physical activities, as they believed it was harmful for girls to engage in “strenuous” activities such as basketball.
These arguments reached a boiling point at the 1925 Iowa State Teachers’ Convention held at the Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. The annual meeting of superintendents and principals decided that competitive sports before paying crowds was good only for boys' activities, not for girls', and girls basketball would no longer be a state-sponsored interscholastic activity.
One of the meeting’s attendees, who had coached girls basketball, lamented that his conscience was forever bothered “for the harm I might have done the girls” in coaching girls basketball. However, Mystic Superintendent John W. Agans responded with the memorable rebuttal, “Gentlemen, if you attempt to do away with girls basketball in Iowa, you’ll be standing at the center of the track when the train runs over you!” Agans’ powerful message led to an impromptu meeting of 25 men from primarily small rural Iowa school districts. They decided that if the Iowa High School Athletic Association, who oversaw all high school athletic activities at the time, was not willing to sponsor girls basketball, then they would form their own organization. And that’s how the IGHSAU was born.
“Gentlemen, if you attempt to do away with girls basketball in Iowa, you’ll be standing at the center of the track when the train runs over you!”Superintendent John W. Agans
A four-man committee representing the northeast, northwest, southwest and southeast sections of the state oversaw the IGHSAU in its early stages. The committee rotated as the IGHSAU’s part-time secretary until 1947, when Rod Chisholm of Exira became the organization’s first full-time executive secretary, which is when girls basketball began to flourish. The Iowa High School Girls State Basketball Tournament, held at the Drake University Fieldhouse, featured sold-out crowds throughout the eight-session tournament. To promote its growth, the state basketball tournament became one of the Iowa’s marquee events. The IGHSAU published its own rule book and a girls basketball yearbook, and hosted coaching schools for both coaches and officials. The tournament was also one of the first sports to be televised, beginning in 1951 and reaching nine states.
When Rod Chisholm resigned in 1954, he was replaced by Dr. E. Wayne Cooley, who had big plans for IGHSAU. His first task was to expand the number of programs the organization sponsored. While basketball was still wildly successful, Dr. Cooley believed that for the organization to truly thrive, it needed to sponsor more sports. Simply put, Dr. Cooley did just that. IGHSAU sanctioned softball in 1955, while golf and tennis were sanctioned in 1956. Track and field was added in 1962, becoming the fifth IGHSAU-sanctioned sport.
Girls basketball remained the IGHSAU’s crown jewel. Taking advantage of the tournament’s new home, the spacious Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, Dr. Cooley turned the nation’s oldest high school girls state tournament into a showcase for Iowa talent. In addition to the great basketball being played, the halftime shows were elaborate productions comprised of Iowa high school students and bands, dancing and the highlight of the evening, the Hall of Fame presentations narrated by the great Jim Duncan. In short, there was something for everyone whether you liked basketball or not.
When Title IX legislation was passed in 1972 requiring gender equity in every federal-funded educational program, high schools across the country were scrambling. The majority of schools and universities did not offer athletic programs for girls and struggled to find ways to implement the new programs. Sports Illustrated compiled a three-part story in 1973 on women sports and Title IX. One issue of the article featured girls sports in Iowa.
The IGHSAU continued to add programs: cross country was added in 1966, followed by swimming and diving in 1967 and volleyball in 1970. Soccer was added in 1998 and bowling in 2006. Currently, IGHSAU sponsors 10 sports. Today, nearly 70,000 girls compete in Iowa high school athletics. Iowa continues to rank in the top half of the United States in terms of girls high school athletic participation, despite ranking 30th in U.S. population. In addition to administrating sports, IGHSAU conducts coaching certification courses and official education clinics, and offers several scholarships that celebrate the Iowa Girl.
Iowa continues to be unique in that there are four separate activity organizations: the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Speech Association and the Iowa High School Music Association. The four organizations focus their efforts on making Iowa a national leader in administrating high school activities. Dr. Cooley, who retired as the IGHSAU executive secretary in 2002, once stated, “I take a lot of pride that every girl walks down every main street in every town in Iowa just as tall as the boy.” IGHSAU has made its mission to uphold Cooley’s legacy.
“I take a lot of pride that every girl walks down every main street in every town in Iowa just as tall as the boy.”Dr. Cooley
Winston Churchill and the Nobel Prizes, 1946-1953
On 27 November 1895, the scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament. The largest share of his fortune funded a series of Nobel Prizes, starting in 1901. The Nobel Prize honors people worldwide for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and the promotion of peace.
On 16 October 1953, Prime Minister Winston Churchill learned that he had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. His private secretary, Anthony Montague Browne recalled that day. “Churchill deeply wished to be remembered as a peacemaker…. I remember vividly his early and touching joy, which turned to indifference when he learned that it was for Literature and not for Peace.” 1
Churchill thought of the Peace Prize as ultimate acknowledgment of his life’s work. He had been a resolute peacemaker since the early 1900s. He helped to end the Boer War, negotiated the Irish Treaty, engineered a Middle East settlement, promoted a Jewish national home. For the last twenty years his efforts for peace through strength were unduplicated. Now he was trying to ward off a Cold War and a potential nuclear conflagration. 2 But it was not to be.
Peace Prize Nominations
Churchill’s first contact with the Nobel Committee was in 1939, when he nominated Edvard Beneš for the Peace Prize. He held a strong affinity for Beneš (whom he nicknamed “Herr Beans”), deposed by Hitler after Munich. Almost exactly a decade later, the aging patriot would be deposed again, this time by Czech communists. Unsurprisingly, there was no Peace Prize in 1939. (Churchill made a second nomination, the historian G.M. Trevelyan for Literature in 1955, again without success.)
Churchill himself became a candidate for the Peace Prize before the Literature Prize. In 1945 Halvdan Koht, historian and past member of the Nobel Committee, named seven candidates. 3 All were cited for their efforts in World War II: Churchill, Beneš, Franklin Roosevelt, Anthony Eden, Maxim Litvinov, Jan Smuts and, surprisingly Josef Stalin. It was an odd assortment. Eden and Smuts had played important but subordinate roles in the war. Beneš had been in exile for the duration. Litvinov had not been Soviet foreign minister since 1939. And then there was Stalin—an absurd choice in retrospect, though at the time a victor over Hitler.
Koht did not explicitly nominate any of the seven. He finally nominated Cordell Hull, U.S. Secretary of State under Roosevelt from 1933 to 1944. Koht noted Hull’s improving of relations with Latin America, reducing barriers to international trade and role in founding the United Nations. Hull duly was the winner. Churchill’s prevailing reputation as a man of war conspired against him.
A Peace Prize nomination of Churchill occurred in 1950. 4 He was named by Louis Frederik Vindig Kruse, Professor of Law at the University of Copenhagen. Twenty-eight nominees competed. The winner was Ralph Bunche, for having arranged a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs during the war following the founding of Israel in 1948.
The Prize for Literature
According to Kjell Strömberg of the Swedish Academy, the first report on Churchill’s Literature nomination was in 1946. The Academy’s aged Per Hallström found “no literary merit whatever” in Churchill’s novel Savrola, and dismissed his autobiography My Early Life and memoir, The World Crisis. Only Marlborough, Hallström wrote, was a qualifying work. 5
In a 1948 report, Churchill moved closer to winning. The Academy’s Nils Ahnlund referred to G.M. Trevelyan’s praise of Marlborough (despite the calumny Churchill heaped on Trevelyan’s great uncle Macaulay) and stressed the great documentary value of The World Crisis. This alone was not enough, Ahnlund wrote. But Churchill qualified when reinforced by his oratory: “No man has better known how to awaken such an echo by his eloquence, or to reach so vast a public. It is, then, basically for his oratory that Churchill deserves the Prize but his art as an orator is well framed by the rest of his production.” 6
The Swedish archeologist and scholar Birger Nerman formally nominated Churchill that year—and every year thereafter. Finally, on 16 October 1953, Swedish Ambassador to Britain Gunnar Hägglöf notified Churchill that he had won. The citation mentioned his “mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.” In his presentation address, Sigfrid Siwertz of the Swedish Academy cited The River War, Lord Randolph Churchill, The World Crisis, Marlborough, My Early Life, Thoughts and Adventures and Great Contemporaries, along with Churchill’s oratory. 7 It is a commonly stated that Churchill received the Literature Prize for his memoir, The Second World War. That six-volume work was unfinished at the time, and not considered.
The Swedish Academy recognized a long and brilliant literary career that had begun in 1895. Despite Churchill’s disappointment in not winning the Peace Prize, he thanked them humbly. “I hope you have not been biased in any way in your judgment of my literary qualities,” he told Ambassador Hägglöf. “But at any rate I am very proud indeed to receive an honor which is international. I have received several which are national, but this is the first time that I have received one which is international in its character.” 8 At Ten Downing Street he told reporters: “I think it a very great honor to receive from the Swedish Academy of Literature this distinction gained among all the other writers of the world.” 9
In October 1953, Sir Winston wrote his wife in Paris. “It is all settled about the Nobel Prize. £12,100 free of tax. Not so bad. I think we shall have to go to Stockholm for a couple of days in December & stay with the King and Queen there.” 10 As December approached, however, Churchill needed to attend the rescheduled Bermuda Conference with Eisenhower. If this furthered peace, it was far more important.
“The Swedes were most understanding,” wrote his daughter Mary, “and a special request was sent to Clementine asking her to receive the Prize on her husband’s behalf. I was invited to accompany her.” 11 Their trip preoccupied her father. “Yesterday, while Clemmie was in the air on her way to Stockholm to receive Winston’s Nobel Prize, he was jumpy and worried,” wrote Churchill’s doctor. “Then a message came. As he read it his face cleared. ‘They have arrived. I hate to have people I love in the air—unless I am with them.’” 12
In Stockholm, December 10th, the day of the ceremony, dawned in pouring rain. Inside the Stockholm Concert Hall, bright lights shined on a joyfully dressed audience. King Gustaf VI Adolf arrived, with the Queen and two princesses. The King awarded each Nobel Laureate his Prize. They included Frits Zernike (Physics), Herman Staudinger (Chemistry) and two Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, Hans Krebs and Fritz Lipmann. Finally, Siwertz introduced and awarded the Prize in Literature. Accepting for her husband, Mrs. Churchill received a gold medal and a diploma bearing a citation from the King. In the mostly Swedish ceremony, the presentation to Lady Churchill is in English.
That evening, a banquet occurred at Stockholm City Hall. Lady Churchill delivered her husband’s response: “The roll on which my name has been inscribed represents much that is outstanding in the world’s literature. The judgment of the Swedish Academy is accepted as impartial, authoritative, and sincere throughout the civilized world.” Churchill said he was proud but also “awestruck, at your decision to include me. I do hope you are right. I feel we are both running a considerable risk and that I do not deserve it. But I shall have no misgivings if you have none.” 13
The Literature Prize represented another mark of Churchill’s achievements as soldier, statesman, war leader, historian and artist.
1 Anthony Montague Browne, Long Sunset: Memoirs of Winston Churchill’s Last Private Secretary (London: Indigo, 1996), 133.
2 James W. Muller, ed., Churchill As Peacemaker (Cambridge University Press, 1997), 26-28, 187.
3 Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Database, accessed 11 November 2017.
4 “28 Are Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, Including Truman, Churchill and Marshall,” The New York Times, 28 February 1950, 21.
5 Nobel Prize Library, Albert Camus—Winston Churchill (New York: Nobel Foundation, 1971), 407-08.
8 “Churchill Wins Nobel Prize Puts Kipling and Shaw Higher,” The New York Times, 16 October 1953, 1.
10 Mary Soames, ed., Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of the Churchills (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 575.
12 Lord Moran, Churchill Taken From the Diaries of Lord Moran, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966), 544.
13 Winston S. Churchill, banquet speech, read by his wife, in The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953.