Nobel Prize 2018 Announcements

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  • #26
f95toli
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Nils Gustaf Dalen, ""invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys".
I think the question here is if the discovery was really "physics" as such; although I guess that could be said for the integrated circuit as well.
Dahlen's system was used in countless lighthouses around the world for close of half a century and made automatic lighthouses much more practical. Hence, giving him the price was probably very much in the spirit of what Nobel.had in mind.

Also, the sun valve is a very, very clever invention.
 
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  • #27
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I think the question here is if the discovery was really "physics" as such; although I guess that could be said for the integrated circuit as well.
Dahlen's system was used in countless lighthouses around the world for close of half a century and made automatic lighthouses much more practical. Hence, giving him the price was probably very much in the spirit of what Nobel.had in mind.

Also, the sun valve is a very, very clever invention.
This is a good point. The discussion might benefit from the formulation of Alfred Nobel's will:
one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics
The main question is probably what Nobel intended by an "invention within the field of physics". Just from the wording, one could ask the question whether a theoretical framework is an "invention" (e.g., would this include Noether's theorem?) or if invention is intended to be of a more practical nature. Given what I know of Alfred Nobel, I would tend to favour the latter interpretation, which is also what the Nobel Committee has historically done, but of course there is no way of actually asking him.
 
  • #28
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Nils Gustaf Dalen, ""invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys".

I want to stand up for the small guy a little on this after a quick google, Dalen lost his sight in an accident during an experiment and could not attend the Nobel ceremony.
Commitment for his cause if nothing else and a high price to pay.


With the whole women thing, one has to remember women hardly had any rights at all until fairly recently so you would expect society to reflect that.
Women did not vote in the UK till 1918 by which time Marie Curie had already won two Nobel prizes which is a nod in the direction of science out running societal prejudice.
Its also worth looking at the attitude to education/University in terms of when women were allowed to attend and study for a degree, hardly surprising not as women could get a look in.
Reading a little history Jocelyn Bell probably should have been in with a shout.
 
  • #29
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Sorry, but this question shows profound ignorance of the history of the Nobel Prizes. There are many examples of women who arguably should have won a Nobel Prize, but did not. Of course, you can never prove that it was based on gender bias, but you asked for specific examples so let me just mention Lise Meitner who definitely should have shared the prize (in chemistry, but it might as well have been a physics prize) with Otto Hahn.

No, it should not be 50/50, but women in physics today are at least as prominent as men based on how big of a portion of the community they represent. To not have awarded a single prize to a woman for over 50 years is ridiculous.
It is difficult to "prove" that these women were overlooked due to gender biased biases, because one needs clear proof of that. But in many of these cases, when we look at it now, they were head-scratchers on why they were overlooked while the colleagues that they were working with received the prize:

1. Rosalind Franklin. She essentially did ALL of the x-ray diffraction work that established the helical structure of the DNA.

2. Vera Rubin. Enough said.

3. Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Even astronomers were criticizing the Nobel Committee for overlooking what was really HER discovery, and gave the prize to her supervisor instead.

4. Chien-Shiung Wu. The "First Lady of Physics" managed to get her colleagues to win the Nobel Prize based on what she did.

5. Mildred Dresselhaus. Considering all the accolades given to her while she was alive, I am still shock that she has not been awarded the prize. Many people attributed her to the concept of the possible existence of graphene well before it was discovered.

etc...

Zz.
oops you already pointed this out
 
  • #30
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Anybody who dares to take a stab at speculating who will be the happy receiver of a phone call from the Royal Academy of Sciences on October 2?
My try: Zeilinger (probably sharing with someone else) for experiments on quantum foundations, especially for simultaneous closing of fair sampling and locality loopholes in tests of Bell inequalities.
https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.250401
 
  • #31
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You need to check your history books. Einstein did win the Nobel prize. The reason was ”for his services to Theoretical Physics, in particular the photoelectric effect”. His services to theoretical physics certainly includes relativity, even if the committee did not want to put it in black on white.

Also, your line of argumentation is flawed. That there have been men who were overlooked in no way compensates for systematically overlooking women who many times did a larger part of the work. Bringing this up is whataboutism.
I didn't bring up that fact to argue against any of that. You're the one bringing up the fact that women's work was overlooked in the past, and because of that "it's about time the prize goes to a woman", as if two wrongs make a right (wrong in the sense of weighing in the scientist's gender to make a decision).
 
  • #32
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Some data points regarding the Nobel Prize:

Between 1901 and 2017, the Nobel Prize have been awarded to women 49 times, and thus 48 women were awarded the Nobel Prize in total out of 892 individuals, meaning 5.4% of all Nobel Prizes awarded to individuals were to women. (Please note that Marie Curie had been awarded the prize twice, once in 1903 in physics, the other in 1911 in chemistry).

If you look at the distribution of the Nobel Prizes awarded to women:

1. 2 were for physics, 4 were for chemistry, and 12 were for physiology and medicine. Therefore, out of the 48 women awarded the prize, 17 women (35.4%) were awarded for STEM fields recognized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Karolinska Institute (who present the prizes for the STEM categories).

2. One woman (2.1%), Elinor Ostrom, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2009.

3. The remaining 30 women (62.5%) were thus awarded for Peace or for Literature

It's also worth noting that out of all of the women awarded the Nobel Prize, 19 (39.6%) were awarded between the years of 2001-2017.

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/nobel-prize-awarded-women-3/
 
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Orodruin
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I didn't bring up that fact to argue against any of that. You're the one bringing up the fact that women's work was overlooked in the past, and because of that "it's about time the prize goes to a woman", as if two wrongs make a right (wrong in the sense of weighing in the scientist's gender to make a decision).
Then you are making a straw-man argument. I am not arguing that at all. I am just saying that it is about time. The accomplishments of Lene Hau (who I was discussing) stand on their own.
 
  • #34
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were awarded for STEM fields recognized by the Nobel Academy
Just a formality: There is no such thing as the "Nobel Academy". The Nobel Assembly is the body under Karolinska Institutet that selects the laureate(s) in Physiology or Medicine. The Physics and Chemistry laureates are selected by the Royal Academy of Sciences and is usually based on the suggestions by its Nobel Committees in the respective subjects.
 
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  • #35
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My try: Zeilinger (probably sharing with someone else) for experiments on quantum foundations, especially for simultaneous closing of fair sampling and locality loopholes in tests of Bell inequalities.
https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.250401
My feeling is that Zeilinger will almost certainly win at some point. Whether this is the year is an open question.
CRISPR. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuel Charpentier for elucidating the mechanism of DNA recognition and cleavage by the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
Yeah, Doudna and Charpentier will definitely win, and soon. Although I'm kind of shocked that the Human Genome Project still hasn't gotten a shoutout after ~15 years (Craig Venter and Francis Collins being the obvious choices). Maybe Chemistry will go to CRISPR and Medicine will go to HGP.
 
  • #36
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I didn't bring up that fact to argue against any of that. You're the one bringing up the fact that women's work was overlooked in the past, and because of that "it's about time the prize goes to a woman", as if two wrongs make a right (wrong in the sense of weighing in the scientist's gender to make a decision).
In your first post, you seemed to argue that there are many more people and discoveries deserving of the prize that can be awarded, so the decision of which discovery gets the prize is fairly arbitrary (I would also agree with this). Given that there are many scientists worthy of a Nobel prize, given that some are women, and given what we know about intrinsic biases, it would make sense to make a conscious effort to make sure womens' work does not get overlooked. No one is arguing to award the prize to a woman who has not done work worthy of the prize. But given that there are women who have done work worthy of a Nobel prize, why not make sure they get the award before they die (as in the case of Vera Rubin)? Unless, say, you want to argue that Lene Hau's work is not worthy of a Nobel prize.
 
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  • #37
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Just a formality: There is no such thing as the "Nobel Academy". The Nobel Assembly is the body under Karolinska Institutet that selects the laureate(s) in Physiology or Medicine. The Physics and Chemistry laureates are selected by the Royal Academy of Sciences and is usually based on the suggestions by its Nobel Committees in the respective subjects.
Thanks for the clarification. I've edited my post accordingly.
 
  • #38
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Does TALENS (an earlier technology than CRISPR) deserve a prize?
TALENS have not proven very useful as tools for gene editing because it is very difficult to engineer them to target specific sequences. On the other hand, a high school summer student that I supervised was able to design a CRISPR experiment. People working on TALENS (and the meganucleases and zinc-finger nucleases before them), certainly did contribute knowledge about how to perform gene editing, however, through using the cell's non-homologous end joining and homology directed repair pathways. Indeed, once Doudna and Charpentier (+ Siksnys) worked out the details of how to target CRISPR to specific DNA sequences, the other knowledge was already in place to allow the gene editing experiments to happen very quickly.

A Nobel prize, however, would probably go to the scientists responsible for earlier work on figuring out the non-homologous end joining and homology directed DNA repair pathways rather than the scientists who applied that knowledge for gene editing.

I will buy that the chemistry prize is more likely then, but would you consider it a stretch if they did get the prize in medicine? There have been previous prizes that could arguably have been in one of two categories, for example, the prize of Otto Hahn was already mentioned in this thread.

... Imagine the surprise of the Nobel Committee in Chemistry if they have decided to propose CRISPR to the academy and the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska announces it as the Medicine prize next Monday ...
I would be mildly surprised if it were a medicine prize because:
1) CRISPR itself, being a bacterial antiviral defense mechanism, is not really relevant to human health.
2) As a tool, CRISPR has not yet been shown to successfully treat any disease in humans.

The one thing going for CRISPR at this point is its utility as a tool for biomedical research (but again, development of tools for biomedical research generally falls into Chemistry, such as last year's prize for cryo-electron microscopy, or prizes for PCR, DNA synthesis, DNA sequencing, methods for x-ray crystallography of macromolecules, protein NMR or soft-ionization methods for mass spectrometry). While the CRISPR work is definitely worthy of a Chemistry prize, I'd say it's still premature to consider it for the Medicine prize.

I assume the committee chairs communicate with each other to avoid redundant awards.
 
  • #39
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So what is the thought on this Newsweek prediction?

https://www.newsweek.com/betting-who-will-win-nobel-prize-year-79543
That prediction was from 2009...

However, it did pretty well for the Medicine category. Five of the six individuals named eventually won Nobel Prizes in Medicine.

For more recent predictions from the Web of Knowledge team (now Clarivate Analytics):
Physiology or Medicine

Napoleone Ferrara, University of California, San Diego, CA, for the discovery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key regulator of angiogenesis, the process in which new blood vessels are formed, both in healthy tissue and in cancerous cells. Ferrera's work has led to the development of drugs that inhibit blood-vessel growth in cancer and in blinding eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration.

Minoru Kanehisa, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, for contributions to bioinformatics, specifically for his development of the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). This database of protein pathways involved in gene expression allows genomicists and other researchers to collect, compare, and interpret data on cellular processes – for example, those that underlie disease.

Solomon H. Snyder, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, for his identification of receptors for many neurotransmitters and psychotropic agents, including brain receptors associated with opiates. His insights have been applied in the development of many common prescription drugs, such as compounds for pain control.

Physics

David Awschalom, University of Chicago, IL, and Arthur C. Gossard, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, for observation of the spin Hall effect in semiconductors. This insight into how electrons behave under the influence of magnetic fields promises application in many areas, including quantum computing.

Sandra M. Faber, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, for pioneering methods to determine the age, size and distance of galaxies and for other contributions to cosmology, including work on the "cold dark matter" believed to constitute the universe's "missing" matter.

Yury Gogotsi, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Rodney S. Ruoff, IBS CMCM Center and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, and Patrice Simon, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III - CNRS, Toulouse, France, for discoveries advancing the understanding and development of carbon-based materials including for capacitive energy storage and understanding the mechanisms of operation of supercapacitors.

Chemistry

Eric N. Jacobsen, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, for contributions to catalytic reactions for organic synthesis, especially for the development of Jacobsen epoxidation.

George M. Sheldrick, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, for his enormous influence in structural crystallography through the introduction and maintenance of the SHELX system of computer programs.

JoAnne Stubbe, MIT, Cambridge, MA, for her discovery that ribonucleotide reductases transform ribonucleotides into deoxyribonucleotides by a free-radical mechanism. These deoxyribonucleotides, in turn, are fundamental to the synthesis and repair of DNA.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rel...-future-nobel-prize-recipients-300715570.html
https://clarivate.com/2018-citation-laureates/

Another set of predictions for 2018, from a biophysicist blogger:
Chemistry: Cytoskeletal motor proteins (Ron Vale, Mike Sheetz, Jim Spudich)

Medicine: T-cell and cancer immunotherapy (Jim Allison, Stephen Rosenberg, Philippa Marrack)

Physics: Dark matter (Sandra Faber, Margaret Geller, Jerry Ostriker, Helen Quinn)
http://blog.everydayscientist.com/?p=3662

For predictions from past years, here are some links I compiled in a previous thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...xpectations-and-opinions.925887/#post-5843790
 
  • #40
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Although I'm kind of shocked that the Human Genome Project still hasn't gotten a shoutout after ~15 years (Craig Venter and Francis Collins being the obvious choices). Maybe Chemistry will go to CRISPR and Medicine will go to HGP.
At this point, that the committee hasn't awarded a prize for the human genome project suggests that they don't see it as worthy of a Nobel prize. It certainly was a big undertaking that provided a valuable resource for biomedical research, but perhaps it is not innovative enough. Similarly, the prize for the Higgs Boson went to the theorists who predicted it, not the team that performed the experiment to observe evidence of it.

Personally, I think a Medicine prize to Venter and Collins for the HGP would be warranted. Another option would be a Chemistry prize for DNA sequencing technologies to Venter for inventing the shotgun sequencing approach and to Shankar Balasubramanian and David Klenerman for developing the sequencing by synthesis approach that forms the basis for modern next-generation, high-throughput sequencing devices.
 
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  • #41
Orodruin
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That prediction was from 2009...

However, it did pretty well for the Medicine category. Five of the six individuals named eventually won Nobel Prizes in Medicine.

For more recent predictions from the Web of Knowledge team (now Clarivate Analytics):

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rel...-future-nobel-prize-recipients-300715570.html
https://clarivate.com/2018-citation-laureates/

Another set of predictions for 2018, from a biophysicist blogger:

http://blog.everydayscientist.com/?p=3662

For predictions from past years, here are some links I compiled in a previous thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...xpectations-and-opinions.925887/#post-5843790
I dont know about the other categories, but I am pretty sure that this
Unfortunately, Vera Rubin was never awarded a Nobel Prize, but the committee could honor her memory by awarding some other deserving astrophysicists with the prize this year.
is not how the Nobel Committtee thinks.
 
  • #42
atyy
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TALENS have not proven very useful as tools for gene editing because it is very difficult to engineer them to target specific sequences. On the other hand, a high school summer student that I supervised was able to design a CRISPR experiment. People working on TALENS (and the meganucleases and zinc-finger nucleases before them), certainly did contribute knowledge about how to perform gene editing, however, through using the cell's non-homologous end joining and homology directed repair pathways. Indeed, once Doudna and Charpentier (+ Siksnys) worked out the details of how to target CRISPR to specific DNA sequences, the other knowledge was already in place to allow the gene editing experiments to happen very quickly.

A Nobel prize, however, would probably go to the scientists responsible for earlier work on figuring out the non-homologous end joining and homology directed DNA repair pathways rather than the scientists who applied that knowledge for gene editing.
Yes, CRISPR is much easier to use. But I was thinking that TALENS is already useful, because of reports like the case of a baby girl cured of leukemia with the help of TALENS: https://www.nature.com/news/leukaemia-success-heralds-wave-of-gene-editing-therapies-1.18737.
 
  • #43
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No prize for dark matter until we actually know what it is or if it actually exists. It's premature. I hope the physics prize is for a practical technology development this year.
 
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Sorry, but this question shows profound ignorance of the history of the Nobel Prizes. There are many examples of women who arguably should have won a Nobel Prize, but did not. Of course, you can never prove that it was based on gender bias, but you asked for specific examples so let me just mention Lise Meitner who definitely should have shared the prize (in chemistry, but it might as well have been a physics prize) with Otto Hahn.

No, it should not be 50/50, but women in physics today are at least as prominent as men based on how big of a portion of the community they represent. To not have awarded a single prize to a woman for over 50 years is ridiculous.
I'm not denying that historically women were excluded from Science - I think that is pretty factual (as factual as historical claims can be). However, does that mean that we should exclude men from consideration to make up for that today?

Even if a deserving women did win this year - how does that make up for whatever wrong was done in the past? How many Black or Hispanic Nobel prizes were awarded in Physics? Should we only award prizes to underrepresented groups for the next century until the distribution of prizes roughly matches the distribution in population?

You're trying to bring identity politics and equality of outcome (a deeply flawed political ideology) into what is supposed to be the ultimate realm of objectivity - Science.

How about we just award prizes fairly without consideration of race/gender/sexuality etc... and not let politics infect every single aspect of our lives.
 
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However, does that mean that we should exclude men from consideration to make up for that today?
I have never said that. You are making a straw-man argument.

You're trying to bring identity politics and equality of outcome (a deeply flawed political ideology) into what is supposed to be the ultimate realm of objectivity - Science.
No. The Nobel Prize is not about science and is nothing like an ultimate realm of objectivity. If you believe this you are living in a dream world.
 
  • #46
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I dont know about the other categories, but I am pretty sure that this

is not how the Nobel Committtee thinks.
Agreed. I'm pretty sure people would interpret an award for dark matter after the death of Vera Rubin much more as a slight against her than a tribute.

Yes, CRISPR is much easier to use. But I was thinking that TALENS is already useful, because of reports like the case of a baby girl cured of leukemia with the help of TALENS: https://www.nature.com/news/leukaemia-success-heralds-wave-of-gene-editing-therapies-1.18737.
Most people in the field see CRISPR as a superior technology to TALENS, including the people who pioneered the use of TALENS, as most have pretty much moved on to using CRISPR.

TALENS are still in clinical development in part because of the long time it takes to bring new therapies to the clinic as well as intellectual property issues.
 
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  • #47
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Similarly, the prize for the Higgs Boson went to the theorists who predicted it, not the team that performed the experiment to observe evidence of it.
The prize can be given to collaborations or institutes, it just has never been done. I guess they just don't want to do that for whatever reason. Picking (at most) three experimentalists from the discovery would have made no sense, the discovery was the work of hundreds to thousands.
 
  • #49
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The prize can be given to collaborations or institutes, it just has never been done. I guess they just don't want to do that for whatever reason. Picking (at most) three experimentalists from the discovery would have made no sense, the discovery was the work of hundreds to thousands.
Well, this is exactly what has been done historically, even though ATLAS and CMS are unusually large collaborations. The latest example would be the neutrino oscillation prize, where Kajita and McDonald were far from the only people in the collaborations, but they did play leading and crucial roles.
 
  • #50
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+Clauser +Aspect ?
They didn't close both loopholes simultaneously, so I woudn't bet on them.
 

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