# Nobel Prize 2018 Announcements

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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.

Mentor
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.

Gold Member
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.

dyn
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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.

Gold Member
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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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.
Are you suggesting that the foundation issues new directives to the Royal Academy of Sciences and the other bodies deciding the laureates? Do you think their freedom in actually awarding the prize to a collaboration is restricted at the moment? After all, as a European citizen, I am a part of the EU and therefore essentially a Nobel Peace prize laureate ...

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Yakir Aharonov and Michael Berry.

Gold Member
Are you suggesting that the foundation issues new directives to the Royal Academy of Sciences and the other bodies deciding the laureates?

I'm not competent to have a good opinion. The primary role of the Nobel Foundation is to manage capital and maintain the spirit of Nobel's will. Directives? The Nobel Foundation does not care how the institutions choose their prize winners. They have different focuses. There is of course a close cooperation. The Managing Directors of the Institutions appoint the majority of the members of the Nobel Foundation Board.

Some legal aspects. Nobel's will can never be changed, only "interpreted" to adapt to a changed reality.
The foundation can not change its own statutes, but apply for so-called "permutation" at the government or Authority.

Do you think their freedom in actually awarding the prize to a collaboration is restricted at the moment?

Restricted to 1-3 individual laurates. A prize to a research group or collaboration between groups is currently more complicated.

After all, as a European citizen, I am a part of the EU and therefore essentially a Nobel Peace prize laureate ...

Since EU won the Nobel Peace Prize 2012... of course I think you are a kind of Nobel laureate. I hope you received your share of the prize money - about 2 cents.

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Restricted to 1-3 individual laurates. A prize to a research group or collaboration between groups is currently more complicated.
This misses the point of my question and humorously intended interjection about the EU. The will is worded the same way for the physics prize as for the peace prize, yet clearly the Norwegian Nobel Committee has had no problems in awarding organizations so my question is how the physics prize differs in this regard.

Gold Member
The will is worded the same way for the physics prize as for the peace prize...
Common to the physics and peace prize is the formulation: "one part to the person".
Then the will is worded a little different:

Physics: "the most important discovery or invention.”
Peace: “the most or best to advance fellowship among nations,
the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and
the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”
... yet clearly the Norwegian Nobel Committee has had no problems in awarding organizations so my question is how the physics prize differs in this regard.
The reason is that it is already established by the Nobel Foundation for the Peace Prize.

"The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those
persons or organizations nominated by qualified individuals"

Scroll down to Candidacy Criteria:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/

This does not answer your question why the physics prize can’t be given to an organization.
I have no concrete answer, but have done some research and found something
that surprised me:

“Each prize-awarding body shall be competent to decide whether the prize
it is entitled to award may be conferred upon an institution or association.”

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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 has been awarded to
Arthur Ashkin (1/2) "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems"
Gerard Mourou (1/4) and Donna Strickland (1/4) "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses"

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dlgoff, berkeman, StatGuy2000 and 3 others
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Dr. Arthur Ashkin - Harvey Prize Recipient 2004

FiO+LS 2018 - Gerard Mourou Plenary Session

Donna Strickland - Multi-frequency Raman Generation for Intense Ultrashort Pulses

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Astronuc, Choppy, StatGuy2000 and 4 others
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phoenix95, Astronuc, Choppy and 3 others
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Something is going on. The dawn of a Nobel makeover?

"For groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics"
1. Inventions, not discoveries. Old Alfred would have been happy, as an inventor and entrepreneur himself.
2. Donna Strickland - A Female Physics Prize winner. The first since 1963; 55 long years.
3. Arthur Ashkin 96 - The oldest Nobel Prize winner ever, not just within physics. New hope for older retired physicists.

It's never too late.

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phoenix95 and bob012345
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3. Arthur Ashkin 92 - The oldest Nobel Prize winner ever, not just within physics. New hope for older retired physicists.
It's never too late.
Ashkin it actually 96.

Something is going on. The dawn of a Nobel makeover?

"For groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics"
1. Inventions, not discoveries. Old Alfred would have been happy, as an inventor and entrepreneur himself.
2. Donna Strickland - A Female Physics Prize winner. The first since 1963; 55 long years.
3. Arthur Ashkin 92 - The oldest Nobel Prize winner ever, not just within physics. New hope for older retired physicists.

It's never too late.

Choppy, berkeman and DrClaude
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Ashkin it actually 96.
Corrected. Thanks!
(To quote myself: "It's never too late.")

phoenix95
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2021 Award
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 has been awarded to
Arthur Ashkin (1/2) "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems"
Gerard Mourou (1/4) and Donna Strickland (1/4) "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses"

Today's Physics prize, especially the prize to Ashkin, highlight inventions that have been important field of biophysics. In graduate school, I worked in the field of single molecule biophysics, which aims to watch the action of single enzymes in order to gain greater knowledge of their mechanisms of action.

This field was primarily built on two different technologies. One (which I used) was the detection of fluorescence from single fluorescent molecules (pioneered, among others, by W.E. Moerner, a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), and the other was optical tweezer technology. Optical tweezers give biologists not only the ability to manipulate biological molecules (e.g. to study the mechanical properties of DNA), but also to very sensitively monitor the motion of molecular motors.

In now classic studies in biophysics, researchers were able to watch DNA polymerase synthesize DNA, RNA polymerase make RNA from DNA with base pair resolution, and watch the ribosome move codon-by-codon on an mRNA as it synthesizes protein (the three key steps in the "central dogma" of biology). While Askin was key to developing optical tweezer technology, many biophysicsts (principally, Steven Block at Stanford and Carlos Bustamante at Berkeley) have been at the forefront of applying optical tweezer technology to the study of biological systems (indeed, their work is cited heavily in the Nobel prize material describing the applications of optical tweezers).

In fact, one could make a strong argument that a prize for optical tweezers and their application to biological systems probably should have been its own prize to Ashkin, Block and Bustamante. While there are still many questions left in the field, these optical tweezer studies have really helped us learn how molecular motor proteins can couple a chemical reaction (such as the hydrolysis of ATP) to the directed motion of protein molecules on their substrates.

Pulsed lasers have also had numerous applications in biophysics, including multiphoton microscopy (most famously, two-photon microscopy). Two photon microscopy is particularly useful for imaging deep into tissue (use of two photon excitation allows with IR lasers that are absorbed and scattered less than visible light by tissue) and has found important applications in neurobiology. Other multiphoton techniques (such as those based on stimulated raman scattering) offer the promise of being able to image specific molecules in living samples without having to label them with an external fluorophore.

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pinball1970, DrClaude, robphy and 4 others
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While Askin was key to developing optical tweezer technology, many biophysicsts (principally, Steven Block at Stanford and Carlos Bustamante at Berkeley) have been at the forefront of applying optical tweezer technology to the study of biological systems (indeed, their work is cited heavily in the Nobel prize material describing the applications of optical tweezers).

In fact, one could make a strong argument that a prize for optical tweezers and their application to biological systems probably should have been its own prize to Ashkin, Block and Bustamante. .

https://www.ibiology.org/talks/optical-traps/

BillTre and Ygggdrasil
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I'm glad this prize was about technology and usefulness and not about something so esoteric even most educated people couldn't begin to comprehend it.

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I'm glad this prize was about technology and usefulness and not about something so esoteric even most educated people couldn't begin to comprehend it.
I would've been fine with either.

phoenix95 and Ygggdrasil
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I would've been fine with either.
I agree, I think both types of prizes are ultimately very important and in the spirit of Alfred Nobel's will. However, it has been some time since there was last a physics prize to an invention of this sort as the last couple of years have been full of very important discoveries in fundamental physics.

Gold Member
The Nobel awards one million dollars. The Wolf prize (my favorite since the term Wolf Laureate just sounds neat) awards one tenth that amount. There is an opportunity to create a prize either greater than a Nobel or in between. I wonder why the U.S. has never created an American Prize even greater than the Nobel?

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The Nobel awards one million dollars. The Wolf prize (my favorite since the term Wolf Laureate just sounds neat) awards one tenth that amount. There is an opportunity to create a prize either greater than a Nobel or in between. I wonder why the U.S. has never created an American Prize even greater than the Nobel?
I do not think you can just create a prize that awards more money and call it "greater". The prize money is of course a nice touch, but if you ask the laureates what meant the most to them, I am pretty sure that the recognition and prestige would come first. Sure, you can throw in the money and make a huge prize, but the Nobel Prize would still have a head start of over 100 years of history and tradition.

Greg Bernhardt
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I do not think you can just create a prize that awards more money and call it "greater". The prize money is of course a nice touch, but if you ask the laureates what meant the most to them, I am pretty sure that the recognition and prestige would come first. Sure, you can throw in the money and make a huge prize, but the Nobel Prize would still have a head start of over 100 years of history and tradition.
Yes, that's true but if the new prize was known to be administered by the best minds in American science and the prize large, the prestige would grow. The Wolf prize has only been around since the late 70's. There could be an added incentive such as any American Prize winner could just walk into the best American institutions and be given whatever they want.

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2021 Award
The Nobel awards one million dollars. The Wolf prize (my favorite since the term Wolf Laureate just sounds neat) awards one tenth that amount. There is an opportunity to create a prize either greater than a Nobel or in between. I wonder why the U.S. has never created an American Prize even greater than the Nobel?

The Breakthrough Prize gives a 3 million dollar award to its laureates. Some of the awards seem to be going to scientists initially passed over for Nobels (e.g. this year's award to Jocelyn Bell Burnell)

bob012345
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Yes, that's true but if the new prize was known to be administered by the best minds in American science and the prize large, the prestige would grow.
You seem to assume that there would be some inherent additional prestige in the "best minds in American science". I do not think that this is true.

There could be an added incentive such as any American Prize winner could just walk into the best American institutions and be given whatever they want.
Institutions would never agree to that.

Mentor
The Fields medal is - together with the Abel prize - the most prestigious award in mathematics, with a prize money of just ~$10,000. Yes, that's true but if the new prize was known to be administered by the best minds in American science and the prize large, the prestige would grow. The Wolf prize has only been around since the late 70's. There could be an added incentive such as any American Prize winner could just walk into the best American institutions and be given whatever they want. A national prize will never get the reputation of the big international prizes. And that reward is unrealistic as well. Science Advisor Gold Member Worth noting that Donna Strickland is Canadian too! And her BS was in Engineering Physics. Oh yea. bob012345, StatGuy2000 and atyy Science Advisor Gold Member 2021 Award The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold ”for the directed evolution of enzymes” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter ”for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2018/press-release/ Definitely a well deserved prize. Both techniques are very useful and are widely used in a number of applications. Astronuc, BillTre and Greg Bernhardt diogenesNY Some fun with Nobel Numbers: The cash prize that goes along with the Nobel is 9,000,000 Swedish Krona/Kronor (SEK) this is just shy of$1 million USD

Between 1901 and 2017, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 585 times

• Awards: 585
• Laureates: 923
• Prize categories: 6
• Awarded women: 48
• Awarded organisations: 48
• Average age: 60
• Youngest laureate: 17
• Oldest laureate: 90

Nobel information from https://www.nobelprize.org/
currency rates from https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter?.tsrc=fin-srch

diogenesNY

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Oldest laureate: 90
Arthur Ashkin is 96 and will get the prize in December.

diogenesNY