Nobel Prize 2018 Announcements

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  • #51
Demystifier
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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.
Million dollars is a big money for a person, but small for a collaboration. The point of giving big money is to motivate people to work hard on big problems. It's not such a big motivation if you think: If I work hard, perhaps my big collaboration will one day get million dollars.
 
  • #52
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Getting the Nobel Prize itself is very motivating. It would motivate people a tiny bit to join larger collaborations.
If you choose your field of work based on the probability to win the Nobel Prize you make something wrong anyway.
 
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  • #53
DrClaude
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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.
FWIW, she has now won a special Breakthrough Prize.
 
  • #54
Hi! I was just wondering who would you think will win the Nobel prize in Physics and for what.

Thanks! :)
 
  • #55
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I don't know but here's how they decide the issue:

https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/physics/

It seems the web is silent on the issue, no doubt afraid to jinx their favorite candidates. They must have been selected and notified already but have to stay mum until the big event.
 
  • #56
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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.
Even limiting the choice to equally worthy candidates, choosing a woman because she is a woman demeans the meaning of the prize. They just have to decide which of the worthy work is the most worthy which is why it's so difficult. Making 'sure' someone's gets a prize before they die misses the point of the prize. It's not about the person, it's about the work. It would be better to change the rules such that a scientist's work could be recognized posthumously but that's not going to happen. Too bad though.
 
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  • #57
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It seems the web is silent on the issue, no doubt afraid to jinx their favorite candidates. They must have been selected and notified already but have to stay mum until the big event.
They get notified very shortly before the announcement - something like 1-2 hours.
 
  • #58
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choosing a woman because she is a woman demeans the meaning of the prize
And for many years, NOT choosing a woman because she was a woman was pretty much standard practice. That also demeaned the meaning for the prize. Bearing in mind the huge number of deserving causes and the arbitrariness of choice for the final winner then why not tip the balance amongst the 'equally good' candidates and make up, in some small way, for many years of unfairness?
 
  • #59
atyy
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  • #60
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I prefer the Olympic sports with objective criteria rather than judges.

Beauty contests? Not my thing.
 
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  • #61
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not tip the balance amongst the 'equally good' candidates and make up, in some small way, for many years of unfairness?
Not everyone thinks the solution to past unfairness is future compensating unfairness, and even among those who do can disagree on the right amount of compensating unfairness.
 
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  • #62
StatGuy2000
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I prefer the Olympic sports with objective criteria rather than judges.

Beauty contests? Not my thing.
The thing is, if you really think about it, selection of Nobel Prizes in any category (including Physics) is a criteria determined by judges using criteria that isn't necessarily objective.

From the Nobel website, the following have the right to submit proposals for the award:

1. Swedish and foreign members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
2. Members of the Nobel Committee for Physics
3. Nobel Laureates in Physics
4. Tenured professors in the Physical Sciences at universities and institutes of technology in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm
5. Holders of corresponding chairs in >=6 universities or university colleges around the worlds selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
6. Other scientists invited by the Academy

Each of these 6 groups consist of individuals who essentially, in their own opinion, submit proposals for those they deem worthy of the award. Of course, the accomplishments that individual scientists make are among the most important factors, and you could make the case that those accomplishments are objective, but the nomination process is not objective, and individual biases can filter into it.
 
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  • #63
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Not everyone thinks the solution to past unfairness is future compensating unfairness, and even among those who do can disagree on the right amount of compensating unfairness.
My contention is that the very nomination process has never been "fair" in any meaningful case, because the nomination process (from which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences then make the final selection) is itself not objective, but is instead an amalgamation of subjective opinions on the merits of various physicists and their contributions to the realm of physics.

Some questions have been raised in this thread about why there have been so few women who have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, and that the last award was made 50 years ago. One question that comes to mind would be how many women were even nominated to begin with (a question we won't know the answer to until 50 years from now, according to the Nobel Prize rules, btw). If over the past several decades, all of the various groups with the right to nominate candidates didn't nominate any female physicists, it's worth wondering why that is. Is it because female physicists didn't make any substantive contributions over the past 50 years? Or is it the case that there is a widespread bias (both conscious and unconscious) within the community of physics (in particular, the older members of the physics community) against women in physics?
 
  • #64
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My contention is that the very nomination process has never been "fair" in any meaningful case, because the nomination process (from which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences then make the final selection) is itself not objective, but is instead an amalgamation of subjective opinions on the merits of various physicists and their contributions to the realm of physics.

Some questions have been raised in this thread about why there have been so few women who have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, and that the last award was made 50 years ago. One question that comes to mind would be how many women were even nominated to begin with (a question we won't know the answer to until 50 years from now, according to the Nobel Prize rules, btw). If over the past several decades, all of the various groups with the right to nominate candidates didn't nominate any female physicists, it's worth wondering why that is. Is it because female physicists didn't make any substantive contributions over the past 50 years? Or is it the case that there is a widespread bias (both conscious and unconscious) within the community of physics (in particular, the older members of the physics community) against women in physics?
I am less concerned about that, because in the level of speculation, that will require a lot of it to address that issue.

My main point is that in cases where there were very clear involvement of women in a particular discovery (DNA, quasar, etc.), they were overlooked and the prize was given to the male colleagues or counterparts. And these instances are now widely acknowledged as being an egregious oversight of the awarding committee.

This is not a "hey, you should award a prize to so-and-so", but rather "hey, you awarded the Nobel prize for this. Why didn't you include so-and-so since SHE did a huge portion of the work?"

Zz.
 
  • #65
Dr. Courtney
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The dearth of women recognized for scientific accomplishments seems like a think globally, act locally opportunity. Sure, we can decry the Nobel distribution among sexes, But it would be more meaningful and impactful for us to invite more women to collaborate in our own research and make sure we are providing equal research and mentorship opportunity to women as we do men.

How would most mid- and late- career scientists here fare if our publications lists were reviewed for the presence of women co-authors?
 
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  • #66
StatGuy2000
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I am less concerned about that, because in the level of speculation, that will require a lot of it to address that issue.

My main point is that in cases where there were very clear involvement of women in a particular discovery (DNA, quasar, etc.), they were overlooked and the prize was given to the male colleagues or counterparts. And these instances are now widely acknowledged as being an egregious oversight of the awarding committee.

This is not a "hey, you should award a prize to so-and-so", but rather "hey, you awarded the Nobel prize for this. Why didn't you include so-and-so since SHE did a huge portion of the work?"

Zz.
But this raises the very question about why the women involved in a particular discovery were overlooked. Recall that according to the Nobel Prize criteria, only specific groups have the ability to even nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize. So the question is this -- was it the case that

(a) The woman involved in the study wasn't even nominated for the Nobel Prize.

(b) The woman was nominated, but was overlooked by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (or more specifically, their Nobel Prize committee responsible for selecting the winner).

If the situation is due to (a) above, then the conclusion is that there is a deep-seated bias (whether conscious or unconscious) against female scientists, which has certainly been the case until relatively recent times (and some argue may still be the case).

If (b), then the bias could be more limited to those within the Nobel committee.
 
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  • #67
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But this raises the very question about why the women involved in a particular discovery was overlooked.
That is the question that, I believe, only the Nobel organization can address. Without in-depth investigation, all we can do is speculate, and it requires no knowledge or skill in anything to do that.

Zz.
 
  • #68
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I think it is way past time to award the prize to a woman again. There are many women who have made important discoveries and it is unreasonable to ignore those accomplishments.
The Nobel Foundation and the committees responsible for the election of Nobel Prize winners have had meetings 2017 and 2018 to discuss the skewed gender distribution among Nobel Prize winners.

According to the chairman of the Nobel Foundation, several proposals regarding gender distribution have been discussed: "Everyone realizes that we have a problem that we must take seriously. We must do our utmost to ensure that women are not disadvantaged."
 
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  • #69
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The prize can be given to collaborations or institutes, it just has never been done.
Not yet, but it’s discussed at least in the Nobel Committee for Physics.
One reason for the delay is that the Nobel Foundation has been traditionally close to Alfred Nobel's will. But it is now 100 years later and the scientific research has shifted to large research groups often in global collaboration with other groups. The Nobel Foundation is very aware of the situation.
 
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  • #70
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In this thread have been some relevant criticisms of previous selection of Nobel Prize winners. It will not be easier in this time of growth of research and researchers at the Nobel Prize level.
But look at the professionally orchestrated Nobel banquet. I can assure everyone that the same professionalism permeates the entire Nobel project, a huge continuous project with thousands of people involved.
An enormous effort is also made to find worthy Nobel Prize winners.

What happens in Stockholm in the beginning of October? In physics and chemistry.
On Tuesday morning 2018-10-02, members of the Royal Academy of Science gather together to make the final decision of the Nobel Prize winner/winners in Physics. Immediately after the decision, the famous magic phone call will take place ... and a few minutes later the names of the names of the Nobel laureates are announced.
There are about 450 members of the Royal Academy of Science who are entitled to participate, but there is usually around one third who participates in the final decision in the Beijer Hall of the Academy.

The procedure for the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry is repeated the following day,
Wednesday 2018-10-02.
 
  • #71
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That is the question that, I believe, only the Nobel organization can address. Without in-depth investigation, all we can do is speculate, and it requires no knowledge or skill in anything to do that.
Maybe we will see some female prize winner this year?
In 2017, the Noble Prize committees have made efforts to obtain nominations from more women by inviting more female researchers to nominate for the Nobel Prize 2018. According to the permanent secretary of the Royal Academy of Sciences.
 
  • #72
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Not yet, but it’s discussed at least in the Nobel Committee for Physics.
One reason for the delay is that the Nobel Foundation has been traditionally close to Alfred Nobel's will. But it is now 100 years later and the scientific research has shifted to large research groups often in global collaboration with other groups. The Nobel Foundation is very aware of the situation.
2013 (Higgs: ATLAS and CMS) and 2017 (gravitational waves: LIGO) would have been two great opportunities for that. Big discoveries made by big collaborations.
 
  • #73
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I would be embarrassed if I was a woman and won the award because some committee determined that they needed to give the award to more women.
 
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  • #74
Orodruin
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I would be embarrassed if I was a woman and won the award because some committee determined that they needed to give the award to more women.
This is not going to happen. The prize would never be given to someone who did not deserve it. The question discussed is to remove a negative gender bias, not to introduce a positive gender bias.
 
  • #75
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2013 (Higgs: ATLAS and CMS) and 2017 (gravitational waves: LIGO) would have been two great opportunities for that. Big discoveries made by big collaborations.
It would have been nice and a significant milestone. It will be interesting to see how the Nobel Foundation solves this group problem in the coming years.

If the foundation applied the Nobel testament exactly, we would see one (1) prize winner in each group this year; physics, chemistry and physiology or medicine for discoveries made in 2017. When did it happen last?
Obviously there is already some flexibility in the application. Nobel Prize 2.0.
 

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