Nobel from Papers or Books?

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It seems Nobel Prizez were mostly given for killer papers written like "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". Is it a Stockholm rule that it must be published in paper and not in books? How many Nobel Prize Winners conveyed the ideas in a book and not a paper. And what is the advantage of a paper over book?
 

Ryan_m_b

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I would guess it is because books are published to explain the current field as it is understood whereas new data or models are almost exclusively published in papers.
 

tiny-tim

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Nearly all Nobel prizes for literature were for books. :smile:
 
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For example someone (let's say a savant) was able to derive the constants of nature directly from some equations. And he shared this in a book without publishing any paper. Would he get a Nobel?

What if a physicist read the book and saw the idea and published it in arvix or other paper where they were recognized more officially.

Who would get the Nobel, the Savant or physicist?
 
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The problem with books is anybody can write and publish anything in them. So why would the Nobel committee take the book seriously?
 
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The problem with books is anybody can write and publish anything in them. So why would the Nobel committee take the book seriously?
So if the physicist got the idea originally from the book and redress it with equations and publish it first in peer reviewed paper, then the physicist got the Nobel (even though it's not his original idea but the Savant's)?
 

Office_Shredder

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If somebody solved a genuinely Nobel prize worthy problem and published their solution in a book, they would get credit for it. It's just that there's no reason to publish such a thing in a book - nobody would bother buying it. The academics wouldn't because serious new research is published in journals, not books, and the laypeople wouldn't because they have no idea what the book is saying.

It's possible that somebody else does read the book and tries to steal the idea, and it's likely they could get away with it for a little bit. But I doubt that would last very long (on the order of a month before the record is set straight) so by the time things like Nobel prizes are rewarded everybody would know who to credit. The more likely scenario is that nobody ever reads the book, because who would buy it? And the idea simply vanishes into the mists of time until it's independently rediscovered.

Asking why people don't win Nobel prizes based on what they wrote in a book is like asking why reporters don't win Pulitzer prizes based on books they write. In principle you could break news in a book format, but nobody does that, so nobody's winning prizes in that manner
 

Pengwuino

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So if the physicist got the idea originally from the book and redress it with equations and publish it first in peer reviewed paper, then the physicist got the Nobel (even though it's not his original idea but the Savant's)?
Ideas do not win Nobel Prizes. Anyone can come up with an idea and ideas do not create scientific progress. Predictions and coherent explanations must be made and in Physics, mathematics is a requirement to this end.
 
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If somebody solved a genuinely Nobel prize worthy problem and published their solution in a book, they would get credit for it. It's just that there's no reason to publish such a thing in a book - nobody would bother buying it. The academics wouldn't because serious new research is published in journals, not books, and the laypeople wouldn't because they have no idea what the book is saying.

It's possible that somebody else does read the book and tries to steal the idea, and it's likely they could get away with it for a little bit. But I doubt that would last very long (on the order of a month before the record is set straight) so by the time things like Nobel prizes are rewarded everybody would know who to credit. The more likely scenario is that nobody ever reads the book, because who would buy it? And the idea simply vanishes into the mists of time until it's independently rediscovered.

Asking why people don't win Nobel prizes based on what they wrote in a book is like asking why reporters don't win Pulitzer prizes based on books they write. In principle you could break news in a book format, but nobody does that, so nobody's winning prizes in that manner
So for example you have a Savant brother and he solved it and both of you don't have Ph.Ds. How do you publish this in a paper then.. for example Arxiv only publish by referral. You can't definitely send him the paper because he would surely steal the idea. So what's the best way to publish and what paper in case this hypothetical scenerio occurs.
 

Pengwuino

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So for example you have a Savant brother and he solved it and both of you don't have Ph.Ds. How do you publish this in a paper then.. for example Arxiv only publish by referral. You can't definitely send him the paper because he would surely steal the idea. So what's the best way to publish and what paper in case this hypothetical scenerio occurs.
What does having a PhD have to do with anything? There are no education checks when you publish. The arxiv is a pre-print server, a place where people post papers that are being published (or are in the process of review) in peer-reviewed journal. You do not need to use arxiv, it is simply a convenience.

If you have an idea, you send it to the journal you see most fit in sending it to. This will probably be the journal where most of your research has come from. For example, if you work in gravitation or cosmology, you might have used a lot of work from Physical Review D and that might be a good journal to submit to.
 
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What does having a PhD have to do with anything? There are no education checks when you publish. The arxiv is a pre-print server, a place where people post papers that are being published (or are in the process of review) in peer-reviewed journal. You do not need to use arxiv, it is simply a convenience.
Really? You mean all papers at arxiv are bound to be published? I thought it was just substitute for print publication.

If you have an idea, you send it to the journal you see most fit in sending it to. This will probably be the journal where most of your research has come from. For example, if you work in gravitation or cosmology, you might have used a lot of work from Physical Review D and that might be a good journal to submit to.
How about the savant with no physics degree (remember a Savant has genius ability to see patterns and hence can see the hidden patterns in the constants of nature). Could he just submit it to Physical Review D? Do you mean to say anyone with worthy material can submit it to Physical Review D even if he hasn't finished Ph.D.? Or is there a requirement for certain degrees for any papers to be accepted?
 

Office_Shredder

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There are no degree requirements to publish a paper
 

Pengwuino

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Really? You mean all papers at arxiv are bound to be published? I thought it was just substitute for print publication.
Not necessarily. Some papers are posted when they've been accepted for publication. Some papers are currently in the process of going through peer-review and they may end up being rejected. There are some people who post on the arxiv with no intention of going through the peer-review process at a journal, but I'm not exactly sure what the deal is with those people. This is why the arxiv is not a substitute for peer-review.


How about the savant with no physics degree (remember a Savant has genius ability to see patterns and hence can see the hidden patterns in the constants of nature). Could he just submit it to Physical Review D? Do you mean to say anyone with worthy material can submit it to Physical Review D even if he hasn't finished Ph.D.? Or is there a requirement for certain degrees for any papers to be accepted?
Sure, anyone can submit worthy material to a journal like that regardless of their education. However, the chance of someone who has never formally educated himself in a centuries old field making a discovery is effectively 0. It would be like asking if someone could write the next great American novel without ever having read a book or been taught how to use a pencil/pen/keyboard.
 
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Not necessarily. Some papers are posted when they've been accepted for publication. Some papers are currently in the process of going through peer-review and they may end up being rejected. There are some people who post on the arxiv with no intention of going through the peer-review process at a journal, but I'm not exactly sure what the deal is with those people. This is why the arxiv is not a substitute for peer-review.
I guess so many people posted at arxiv even without intend to publish is to reserve the idea. For example. If eventually they were right, then even if Witten or others discovered the idea independent latter, the arxiv writer gets the recognition. But then, if they were independently discovered, won't the recognization be given to the first one who discovered it? However in QED where Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga got the Nobel. Did they discover them at the same time, at the same hour? If not and we know it is not. Then why give it to them together and not to the first one who discovered it? If the analogy holds, the arxiv writter and Witten will both get it even if Witten discovered it say 5 months later.


Sure, anyone can submit worthy material to a journal like that regardless of their education. However, the chance of someone who has never formally educated himself in a centuries old field making a discovery is effectively 0.
We are in a period now where perhaps M-theory can only be solved by a genius Savant. Remember they can solve for prime numbers of 20 digits in a flash that no computer can do. So they may be able to solve for M-theory so I wonder how they can get the Nobel when they do this.
 

Pengwuino

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I guess so many people posted at arxiv even without intend to publish is to reserve the idea. For example. If eventually they were right, then even if Witten or others discovered the idea independent latter, the arxiv writer gets the recognition. But then, if they were independently discovered, won't the recognization be given to the first one who discovered it? However in QED where Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga got the Nobel. Did they discover them at the same time, at the same hour? If not and we know it is not. Then why give it to them together and not to the first one who discovered it? If the analogy holds, the arxiv writter and Witten will both get it even if Witten discovered it say 5 months later.
But why would they? Why not publish? The whole point of doing scientific research is to get your ideas out there. To use the reporter analogy used earlier, it would be like a New York Times editor writing an OP-ED piece and deciding to simply post it in his bedroom or on the bulletin board at a local library or something. It makes no sense. There's nothing wrong with it and surely he would receive credit for it, but it flies in the face of the whole idea behind journalism. It makes no sense to hide your work as a journalist just as it makes no sense to hide your work as a scientist (national security, personal safety, and a couple other reasons aside).

Also, scientific discovers are not just someone figuring out something, writing down an equation, and boom, Nobel Prize. It's usually years of research done by more than one person (in high energy physics, sometimes even hundreds of people!). When a group of 3 people get a Nobel Prize, it is because the Nobel committee believes that they were the 3 biggest contributors to a significant field of study; none of them came up with 1 thing at 1 instant in time that made them worthy of a Prize.


We are in a period now where perhaps M-theory can only be solved by a genius Savant. Remember they can solve for prime numbers of 20 digits in a flash that no computer can do. So they may be able to solve for M-theory so I wonder how they can get the Nobel when they do this.
Well if that's true then, what are they waiting for?
 
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But why would they? Why not publish? The whole point of doing scientific research is to get your ideas out there. To use the reporter analogy used earlier, it would be like a New York Times editor writing an OP-ED piece and deciding to simply post it in his bedroom or on the bulletin board at a local library or something. It makes no sense. There's nothing wrong with it and surely he would receive credit for it, but it flies in the face of the whole idea behind journalism. It makes no sense to hide your work as a journalist just as it makes no sense to hide your work as a scientist (national security, personal safety, and a couple other reasons aside).

Also, scientific discovers are not just someone figuring out something, writing down an equation, and boom, Nobel Prize. It's usually years of research done by more than one person (in high energy physics, sometimes even hundreds of people!). When a group of 3 people get a Nobel Prize, it is because the Nobel committee believes that they were the 3 biggest contributors to a significant field of study; none of them came up with 1 thing at 1 instant in time that made them worthy of a Prize.
Thanks for this new perspective about arxiv. I thought the site is equal to electronic version of the print or substitute for print. You know most magazines now come in ebook format. So I thought the arxiv library was like an online publication thing.


Well if that's true then, what are they waiting for?
Admit it. Nobel is not just the recognition but the 1.5 million dollars prize too. It's like a lotto prize. So how will they publish? In peer review journal which takes some months to review, the referee and colleagues will (with 8 of 10 probably) just acquired the idea and reframe it in other words to hide the connection. So maybe the Savant need to just publish it here at Physicsforums? In the Nobel Committee investigations, can the archive here be used as floor to establish the originator of the idea? If not here, where else to publish?
 

Office_Shredder

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So how will they publish? In peer review journal which takes some months to review, the referee and colleagues will (with 8 of 10 probably) just acquired the idea and reframe it in other words to hide the connection.
Do you have any basis for this or did you just make up a number? I wasn't aware that the physics community was a cesspool of crooks and scumbags

Remember the nobel prize takes years to win, it's not an overnight process. Do you really think somebody's going to torpedo their career on the off-chance they can cover up a conspiracy to steal someone else's research for two decades? Especially when that person has probably put their paper on arxiv
 
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Do you have any basis for this or did you just make up a number? I wasn't aware that the physics community was a cesspool of crooks and scumbags

Remember the nobel prize takes years to win, it's not an overnight process. Do you really think somebody's going to torpedo their career on the off-chance they can cover up a conspiracy to steal someone else's research for two decades? Especially when that person has probably put their paper on arxiv
In the book Nobel Dreams, the author mentioned how competitions is so much in the community, and elsewhere I read how people are so afraid to submit critical idea for peer review because they are afraid the idea may be acquired. And in one case it is indeed acquired but the author gave the wrong formula and reinserted the right formula the last minute before it went into publication.
 

Pengwuino

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Thanks for this new perspective about arxiv. I thought the site is equal to electronic version of the print or substitute for print. You know most magazines now come in ebook format. So I thought the arxiv library was like an online publication thing.
Nope, not at all.

Admit it. Nobel is not just the recognition but the 1.5 million dollars prize too. It's like a lotto prize. So how will they publish? In peer review journal which takes some months to review, the referee and colleagues will (with 8 of 10 probably) just acquired the idea and reframe it in other words to hide the connection. So maybe the Savant need to just publish it here at Physicsforums? In the Nobel Committee investigations, can the archive here be used as floor to establish the originator of the idea? If not here, where else to publish?
This all sounds like uneducated garbage. Have you ever taken any time to see the age and backgrounds of recent Nobel laureates? Many Prizes are given for work done 30 years before. Split that typically 2-3 ways and you now have a much smaller amount of money to talk about. Then realize that people important enough to win a Nobel Prize have most likely had extremely successful careers and don't see $500k the way you and I would see it. I don't think you'd be able to find a single researcher who says they do their research because they want a Nobel Prize. Sure, it would be fantastic to receive one, but if it factors heavily into their motivation, they clearly have no grasp of the realities of being a scientist. Hell, a vast majority of research people do is not Nobel Prize worthy because science is about advancing our knowledge, not about getting a prize.
 

Pengwuino

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In the book Nobel Dreams, the author mentioned how competitions is so much in the community, and elsewhere I read how people are so afraid to submit critical idea for peer review because they are afraid the idea may be acquired. And in one case it is indeed acquired but the author gave the wrong formula and reinserted the right formula the last minute before it went into publication.
Do you have any sources for this? You'll find a plethora of nutjobs that are afraid their ideas will be stolen simply by sitting around this forum for a while. A while ago, I remember it became a near daily occurrence for someone to join the forum, claim they have determined a GUT, and then claim they don't want to say anything to anyone because they know their idea will be stolen.

Of course, when challenged to give any evidence of their own understanding of physics, it comes off as a strange amalgamation of 9th grade physics, stuff they saw on the History Channel, and random ideas that your average person probably needs to do a lot of drugs in order to come up with.
 
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Do you have any sources for this? You'll find a plethora of nutjobs that are afraid their ideas will be stolen simply by sitting around this forum for a while. A while ago, I remember it became a near daily occurrence for someone to join the forum, claim they have determined a GUT, and then claim they don't want to say anything to anyone because they know their idea will be stolen.

Of course, when challenged to give any evidence of their own understanding of physics, it comes off as a strange amalgamation of 9th grade physics, stuff they saw on the History Channel, and random ideas that your average person probably needs to do a lot of drugs in order to come up with.
I'll dig it up. For normal papers. They don't bother getting it refereed. But for those with calculations like how Feynman did the QED stunt. That's where they were afraid because it takes 6 months to one year to referee a paper and in those months, it can leak out.
 

Evo

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This is nonsense.
 

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