Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The 2007 Nobel Laureates: Another Year of Advancements and Controversy

"How about a Literature award
for bloggers? Hmm...."
With the earlier announcement of the Nobel Prize awardees for Economics, all presentations of the Nobel Prize recipients for 2007 is now complete. The line up of Nobel Prize winners, laudable as they all are, do not come without their share of controversy as advancements in stem cell research and the highly politicized climate change agenda had been accorded a spotlight by the award-giving body.

The Nobel Foundation began prize announcements last October 8 starting with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. On October 9, the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics was announced. This was followed by the announcements for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on October 10, Nobel Prize in Literature on October 11, and the Nobel Peace Prize on October 12. The Prize for Economic Sciences was awarded October 15.

The yearly Nobel Prize identifies distinct achievements in the aforementioned categories. Run by the Sweden-based Nobel Foundation the awards are the fulfillment of Alfred Nobel's last will and testament. The famed inventor of the dynamite, Alfred Nobel was a highly regarded industrialist, scientist, and poet. Upon his death in 1896, a sizeable portion of his estate was bequeathed to a fund which "shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" (see "Excerpt from the Will of Alfred Nobel", nobelprize.org).

Five categories were identified by Nobel himself - Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and the Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize in Economics, officially titled "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel", is not originally part of the awards but rather was instituted in conjunction with the Sweden Central Bank in 1969.

The Nobel Prize consists of the Nobel Diplomas, the Nobel Prize Medals and an amount which for this year totals to 10 Million Swedish Kronor (over 1 Million US Dollars).

This year's Nobel Laureates are as follows:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007
Mario Cappechi (USA), Sir Martin Evans (UK), and Oliver Smithies (USA),
"for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells";

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007
Albert Fert (France), and Peter Grunberg (Germany), "for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance";

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007
Gerhard Erti (Germany), "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces";

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007
Doris Lessing (UK), "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny";

The Nobel Peace Prize 2007
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Geneva, Switzerland), and Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (USA);

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007
Leonid Hurwicz (USA), Eric Maskin (USA), and Roger Myerson (USA), "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory".

There were those who raised wary eyebrows with the inclusion of Al Gore for the Nobel Peace award as some view his advocacy of the climate change agenda to be "too propagandist". In a similar fashion, advancements in stem cell research still strikes sensitive chords among conservative sectors.

Nonetheless, Alfred Nobel's legacy continues - a legacy of unperturbed trailblazing in the face of criticism and difficulties, and eventually contributing toward the betterment of mankind.

Find out more from TheNobelPrize channel on YouTube and at the nobelprize.org website.

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