Posts Tagged ‘Nobel prize’

Nobel Foundation may cancel 2018 literature prize

April 25, 2018

The Nobel Foundation has assigned the Swedish Academy the job of choosing the annual winner of the Literature Nobel Prize. However Horace Engdahl and his ilk have brought the Academy into such disrepute that the Nobel Foundation may find it necessary to distance themselves from the Academy and protect the Nobel brand.

Swedish Radio: 

This year’s award of the Nobel Prize in Literature may be postponed after the crisis in the Swedish Academy.

“We are working on it right now. We will return to the question. You will be notified soon” said permanent secretary Anders Olsson.

The storm around the Swedish Academy continues, and may affect the award of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. According to Kulturnytt’s information, there are some within the committee in the Swedish Academy, which chooses the Nobel Prize winner, and the , who believe that the prize can not or should not be awarded this year.

If this Academy chooses, any prize winner would be horribly tainted.

The problem is that those within the Academy who have fatally tarnished it, don’t get it and are in denial. They do not even see what they have done.

The Nobel Foundation needs to cancel this year’s award and to lay down the rules for any newly constituted Academy to choose a winner.

Horace Engdahl and co. have brought the Academy into disrepute (image TT)


Arnaultgate: The Swedish Academy is revelling in its own excrement

April 12, 2018

Not that a body which awards a Literature Nobel to Dylan has any credibility left, but they are currently excelling in covering themselves with excrement.

Alfred Nobel would be spinning in his grave.

The Nobel brand is being soiled by a bunch of privileged, self-admiring brats.

Of Interest.

How Sohlman and 3 white Russian stallions ensured the establishment of the Nobel prizes


Physics Nobel goes blue

October 7, 2014

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014 to

Isamu Akasaki
Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan and Nagoya University, Japan

Hiroshi Amano
Nagoya University, Japan


Shuji Nakamura
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

“for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”


And the Medicine Nobel goes to …..O’Keefe, Moser and Moser

October 6, 2014

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with one half to John O´Keefe and the other half jointly to May‐Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain

The winners were not among the Thomson-Reuters predictions.

Chillies will have to wait.


I like chillies.

After all chillies are what distinguish humans from animals. As Paul Bloom, a Yale psychologist, puts it,

“Philosophers have often looked for the defining feature of humans — language, rationality, culture and so on. I’d stick with this: Man is the only animal that likes Tabasco sauce.”


And few chutneys are better than a Vengayaa chutney with onions and red chillies.

Which is as good a reason as any for suggesting that David Julius will be awarded the prize for his discovery of the genes that determine how we feel pain, heat and cold. He has studied chilies and how pain and heat are experienced.

I am not sure if he is the favourite but his name is tipped by the Svenska Dagbaldet this morning

Swedish Academician rebuked for talking too much

October 10, 2013

The fuss around the Nobel Prize in Physics  is taking its toll.

Svenska Dagbladet (free translation):

Anders Bárány, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, has been reprimanded for revealing why the announcement of the Physics Prize was an hour late. But Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Presidium, would not comment. The delay on Tuesday of the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics by one hour was unprecedented and quite unique. 

 Mr Anders Bárány had revealed that the delay was caused by heated discussions within the Royal Academy of Sciences (KVA) whether the nuclear research organization CERN would share the prize,His statement had an impact already on Wednesday.

“I was called up to the Academy’s Presidium and given a real scolding” said Anders Bárány.

And I blame the CERN publicity machine for their hype and their blatant lobbying and for causing the controversy in the first place. But Anders Bárány has to take his share of the blame for falling for the publicity machine. He deserved his telling off – not so much for talking to the press after the event but for his support of CERN sharing the award!

What was he thinking?

Some Nobel prizes are quite base

October 10, 2013

Now we come to the less important Nobel Prizes; Literature today, Peace tomorrow and Economics on Monday. I see a clear hierarchy of “nobility” for the 6 awards:

  1. Medicine or Physiology
  2. Chemistry
  3. Physics
  4. Literature
  5. Economics, and
  6. Peace.

The first two still remain fairly true to Alfred Nobel’s intentions. I put Medicine on a higher plane of “nobility” than Chemistry but would have no great quarrel with the order being reversed. Physics definitely has become less “noble”. The whole field has been somewhat degraded by the advent of Big Science and the use of massive “sledgehammers” to try and hammer the universe into submission. But this approach only gives incremental (and often infinitesimal) advances and represent no breakthroughs in thought. I suspect that the real advances will still come from individuals and not by the bureaucratic approach to Big Science where the concept seems to be that advances are directly proportional to the amount of money spent.

I used to believe in the Literature Prize but of late it has become a little subservient to political correctness.

The two “base” prizes with little trace of any nobility are those for Economics and for Peace. Economics is more about social behaviour and there is very little “science” about it. Economic theories have – at best – been of short lived utility.  At worst they have led to global crises.

The Peace prize, of course, has just become a nonsense and brings disgrace to Nobel’s intentions.

Svante Pääbo an outsider for the Chemistry Nobel today

October 9, 2013

I leave it to real Chemists – such as here – to make predictions. And one can always fall-back on Thomson Reuters who correctly predicted the Physics prize yesterday:


A. Paul Alivisatos  and Chad A. Mirkin and Nadrian C. Seeman
For contributions to DNA nanotechnology

Bruce N. Ames
For the invention of the Ames test of mutagenicity

M.G. Finn and Valery V. Fokin and K. Barry Sharpless
For the development of modular click chemistry

But based on a throw-away comment by somebody on Swedish Radio this morning and based on my interest in paleo-anthropology, Svante Pääbo may be an outside bet. He is a participant in Nobel Week in December and this bio is from there:

Svante Pääbo

A Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics, Dr Svante Pääbo investigates ways that the archaic genome can be explored to understand our own history better.

Svante Pääbo has developed technical approaches that allow DNA sequences from extinct creatures such as mammoths, ground sloths and Neandertals to be determined. He also works on the comparative genomics of humans, extinct hominins and apes, particularly the evolution of gene activity and genetic changes that may underlie aspects of traits specific to humans such as speech and language.

In 2010, his group determined the first Neandertal genome sequence and described Denisovans, a sister group of Neandertals, based on a genome sequence determined from a small bone found inSiberia.

Pääbo has received four honorary doctorates and several scientific prizes and is a member of numerous academies. He is currently a Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a Guest Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Physics Nobel today – Higgs? but (hopefully) not CERN! Update – awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs

October 8, 2013


There is more speculation doing the rounds as to why the awards were delayed by one hour.

There are some suggestions that this time was used to kill the ridiculous notion of having CERN – the organisation – as the third award winner! If that was the reason then it was time well spent!

The deliberations of the awards committee will not be released for 50 years.



The Physics Nobel award has been awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs

NO CERN thankfully.


  • 106 Nobel Prizes in Physics have been awarded between 1901-2012.
  • 47 Physics Prizes have been given to one Laureate only.
  • women have been awarded the Physics Prize so far.
  • person, John Bardeen, has been awarded the Physics Prize twice.
  • 25 years was the age of the youngest Physics Laureate ever, Lawrence Bragg, when he was awarded the 1915 Physics Prize together with his father.
  • 55 is the average age of the Physics Laureates the year they were awarded the prize.


The speculation this morning on Swedish Radio is that the Higgs Boson will be recognised. There was some speculation that Higgs himself could lose out but that CERN – as an organisation – could be a winner. I hope not. The Radio commentators all seem to have the impression that the Higgs particle was discovered by CERN last year. But my understanding is that nothing was actually found. Something – not inconsistent with a Higgs particle – was indicated and the Higgs particle was “tentatively confirmed to exist on 14 March 2013” (though “tentative” and “confirmation” is a contradiction in terms).

In any event, I think the Nobel should stick to individuals and not go the way of the discredited Peace Prize and name an organisation like CERN. Professor Higgs would be acceptable even though it would be preferable to wait – but not CERN.

We shall see. (The announcement is due in about 3 hours).

Thomson Reuters predictions:


François Englert and Peter W. Higgs
For their prediction of the Brout-Englert-Higgs boson

Hideo Hosono
For his discovery of iron-based superconductors

Geoffrey W. Marcy and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz
For their discoveries of extrasolar planets

Putin’s Nobel among other things

September 10, 2013

Vladimir Putin is arranging to be nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize by a “neutral” 3rd party. The nomination will be on the grounds that since he is demonstrably more “peaceful” than a previous laureate (Obama) then his “case” stands proven beyond all reasonable doubt. 

(It has also been suggested that since Global Warming is now over, Al Gore could be asked to return his prize – voluntarily).

Senator John Kerry has been nominated to the Vatican as a “miracle worker” and for consideration for Sainthood. His miracle being that his offhand remark was seized upon by Divine Forces and Vladimir Putin to create the Syrian miracle. A Devil’s Advocate is being sought by the Vatican even though his canonisation can only be carried out posthumously. 

(It has been noted by Kerry’s team that Nobel Prizes are only awarded to the living while Catholic canonisation only applies to the departed and therefore Kerry could be eligible for both).

Bashar-al-Assad is now considering how under the pretext of protecting UN weapons inspectors and “verifiers”, the US could be inveigled into carrying out drone attacks on Al Qaida (and other rebel groups).

Barrack Obama is putting out the story that it was all his very devious idea and that it was he who had first suggested the solution to Putin during their frosty 20 minutes alone at the G20 meeting in Saint Petersburg.

David Cameron is competing with Francois Hollande to see who can produce the toughest draft resolution for the United Nations.

Cameron also claims that it was he who suggested the diplomatic route to Barrack Obama when he lost the vote in the UK House of Commons.

Al Qaida and The Arab League have gone into mourning.

Economists are – by and large – religious or political advocates

August 1, 2013

A recent article by March Buchanan in Bloomberg got me to wondering why “Economists” and “Economics” – in spite of their gross and sometimes spectacular failures – have the high status they do. I come to the conclusion that “Economists” are – by and large – just religious or political advocates and “Economics” is no more than a study of social behaviour.

Is Economics a Science or a Religion?

The idea of economics as religion harks back to at least 2001, when economist Robert Nelson published a book on the subject. Nelson argued that the policy advice economists draw from their theories is never “value-neutral” but foists their values, dressed up to look like objective science, on the rest of us.

Take, for example, free trade. In judging its desirability, economists weigh projected costs and benefits, an approach that superficially seems objective. Yet economists decide what enters the analysis and what gets ignored. Such things as savings in wages or transport lend themselves easily to measurement in monetary terms, while others, such as the social disruption of a community, do not. The mathematical calculations give the analysis a scientific wrapping, even when the content is just an expression of values.

Similar biases influence policy considerations on everything from labor laws to climate change. As Nelson put it, “the priesthood of a modern secular religion of economic progress” has pushed a narrow vision of economic “efficiency,” wholly undeterred by a history of disastrous outcomes.

The practice of the black-magic that is considered economics – for it is certainly no science in the Popper sense – gets much of its cloak of respectability from the fact that the Nobel Prize exists (more correctly the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel).  

The Nobel prize in Economics should never have been created. In fact Nobel never wanted one and he is probably spinning in his grave as prize winners, one after another, prove – at best – to be mere historians and – at worst – religious or political zealots.  The prize adds more stature to the discipline of economics than it deserves. Almost every economic theorist has developed wonderful hindcasts but few – if any – have produced theories which can consistently make correct forecasts.

WikipediaThe Prize in Economics is not one of the original Nobel Prizes created by the will of Alfred Nobel. ……. In his speech at the 1974 Nobel Banquet Friedrich Hayek stated that if he had been consulted whether to establish a Nobel Prize in economics he would “have decidedly advised against it” primarily because “the Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess… This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence. But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.”

The Nobel family are among the harshest critics of the Economics Prize being associated with Alfred Nobel:

“The Economics Prize has nestled itself in and is awarded as if it were a Nobel Prize. But it’s a PR coup by economists to improve their reputation,” Nobel’s great great nephew Peter Nobel  told AFP in 2005, adding that “It’s most often awarded to stock market speculators …. There is nothing to indicate that [Alfred Nobel] would have wanted such a prize.”

Members of the Nobel family are among the harshest, most persistent critics of the economics prize, and members of the family have repeatedly called for the prize to be abolished or renamed. In 2001, on the 100th anniversery of the Nobel Prizes, four family members published a letter in the Swedish paper  Svenska Dagbladet, arguing that the economics prize degrades and cheapens the real Nobel Prizes. They aren’t the only ones.

To make it worse the Prize  is now “available to researchers in such topics as political science, psychology, and sociology”.

The political advocacy which is inherent in the theses promoted by Nobel Economics laureates have led to spectacular failures. Milton Friedman and his rabid monetarism gave rise to many of the crises today, Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen bank with their concept and practice of microcredit have exacerbated the risks of the debt trap into which so many small farmers have fallen. Krugman’s politics are essentially of the left and usually encourage profligacy. His analyses are more destructive than constructive and he has fault to find with almost every other theorist cutting across all political boundaries. He himself has yet to advocate any consistently successful theories. Amartya Sen focuses on analysing the “economics of poverty” but has nothing real to offer for its alleviation beyond platitudes representing his own political values from his ivory tower.

The world’s economies lurch from one crisis to the next but rarely are the crises foreseen. The only constant that can be observed is that growth – when it happens – leads to the improvement of the human condition but no “economic theory” has been able to deliver sustained growth. Growth – when it happens – achieves more for poverty alleviation than any social welfare program. Real wealth creation achieves more in achieving full employment or achieving social equality than merely redistributing a static pot of wealth.

As Mark Buchanan writes:

There’s a real danger in seeing economics as an objective science from which all values have been stripped.

It may be that “economics” will always be subject to the vagaries of human attitudes and behaviour and – since these are never constant or rational – that economics theory applied to political reality can never be more than a very short-term action plan.

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