Nobel Week in links

Nobel Week: General
For non-Scandinavians wondering how big an event NobelPrize Day is, this Swedish TV site gives you a good idea. http://svt.se/nobel

After each year’s Peace Prize is announced, the lovely people at the Nobel Peace Center have only a few weeks to create an exhibition in time for the Laureates to open it. This year’s exhibition is called SHEROES. http://nobelpeacecenter.org/english/?did=9087488

If you haven’t seen the inspiring and humbling Nobel Peace Prize speeches, I urge you to read them. http://bit.ly/rraufF http://bit.ly/sdM1YV http://bit.ly/uWv69t

… and see the CNN interview afterwards, where the question of tokenism is dispatched pretty sharpish.  http://bit.ly/tAnbnt

Nobel Prize Ceremony opening speeches have a different theme each year. This Year’s theme was fostering creativity & innovation through education. bit.ly/sYmhUz

If you care about your daughters, don’t let them watch the Nobel Prize ceremony. http://bit.ly/sZhYJF

But if you want royal fashions during the Nobel Prize ceremony, I’ll give you royal fashions. http://bit.ly/rRn1dL All eyes were on Crown Princess Victoria, who is 6 months pregnant. http://bit.ly/sUvqWVAnd here’s some other people you won’t recognize too. http://bit.ly/suu9NO

And here’s the slacker’s guide to winning a Nobel Prize http://ow.ly/7V8IZ

Nobel Week: Laureates
Nice New York Times profile of this year’s Economics Laureates – Intellectual sparring partners for 40 yrs & now reluctant celebrities. http://nyti.ms/vxCN6E

The perennial question of how Nobel Prize winners spend their money has been answered this year by Brian Schmidt – he’s donated $100,000 to an Australian primary school science programme. http://bit.ly/va4Xml

Excellent profile of Dan Shechtman, the Chemistry Laureate who was told he was a disgrace after showing colleagues his groundbreaking quasicrystal result. http://bit.ly/ul9qQx

Charming profile of Tomas Tranströmer, which provides a taste of how popular his award of the Nobel Prize is in his home country. http://bit.ly/vmAK75

Did you know this year’s Literature Laureate is a keen entomologist & even has a beetle named after him? http://bit.ly/v49zra

This year’s Nobel Prize Banquet menu… which for some inexplicable reason is always kept a secret until the guests are seated. http://t.co/P3kAKyZj

Don’t often see this. The Wall Street Journal ran an ad from NYU Stern congratulate Thomas Sargent on his Nobel Prize. http://ow.ly/i/n6Ir

And in other news… 

Physics
Physicists offer their thoughts on whether they think the Higgs boson real, including a limerick from one Nobel Laureate. http://bit.ly/rBg2Ig

If the Higgs boson is found, then which of at least 6 possible contenders would get a Nobel Prize for it? http://natpo.st/vrwoIn

Chemistry
Excellent piece of scientific history: Scientific American defends Marie Curie—and women scientists—in 1911. http://bit.ly/szbFI4 

Literature
Sotherby’s are auctioning manuscripts by only Arab writer to win Literature Nobel Prize. Cost? A cool £50-70K. http://bit.ly/vPs4uZ

Peace
“It’s become more than a movie, it’s become a lesson in life as well.” The new Aung San Suu Kyi film premiered this week. http://nyti.ms/uZBBou

Five Peace Prize winners have called for the release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, arguing that the world has already begun to stop thinking about his case. http://on.wsj.com/vWRQsv

Meanwhile, China’s Nobel-naysaying alternative honours Vladimir Putin with Confucius Peace Prize. http://wapo.st/vPZXoQ

Nobel Week begins

Today this year’s Laureates in Physics, Medicine and Economics begin to arrive in Stockholm to experience a celebration of their achievements like no other.

Unless you have been to Sweden or Norway, it’s difficult to appreciate just how much the Nobel Prize festivities are ingrained into their popular culture. Newspapers and TV programmes will cover the Laureates’ movements all week, and the Nobel Prize Ceremony and Banquet will be broadcast live on TV. For science Laureates more accustomed to university halls than red carpets, the next few days will provide a rare glimpse of the celebrity lifestyle.

As you can see from the official schedule, there’s a lot of events packed into Nobel Week, and so over on the Guardian Science Podcast I’ve provided a brief survival guide for Laureates. For those Laureates arriving in Stockholm today, enjoy the surroundings of the Grand Hotel, and get some rest. You’re about to experience a long and memorable week.

Week in links (27 Nov-03 Dec)

General
Plans for a new Nobel Prize Center in Stockholm have been announced, designed to be a contemporary meeting place for Nobel Laureates, researchers, students, school pupils and the general public. http://bit.ly/u0X22J

Interview with the new Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten. Wish he had been pushed more on future directions, especially the three-person rule. http://bit.ly/v9tVMc

Physics 
Two physicists have bet chocolate Nobel Prize medals on whether evidence for the Higgs boson will be found at the Large Hadron Collider. http://nyti.ms/ukFazo
(P.S. Another Physics Laureate appears to have made a bet on whether the Higgs boson will be discovered http://bit.ly/rJ2LhR)

Charming cartoon on how to win a Nobel Prize, according to this year’s Laureate Adam Riess. http://bit.ly/vqVWfN

Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose crowd-sourcing philosophy is gaining traction in the university classroom. bit.ly/tOCGtM

Medicine
Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi says she is “furious” that funding into HIV & AIDS research is dropping. http://bbc.in/s7Owo5

Literature
Gabriel García Márquez wins 17-year legal fight with man claiming his life story provided the basis for the main character in Chronicle of a Death Foretoldhttp://bit.ly/t1WrU1

Will Bollywood’s Big B play Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in a new movie? http://bit.ly/rFFOwG

Hollywood is taking on the “impossible” challenge of trying to film literary works by William Faulkner, the Nobel Laureate famous for his stream of consciousness writing. http://tgr.ph/uDabKP

Polish poet and 1996 Laureate Wisława Szymborska is said to be recovering well after surgery. http://bit.ly/t3E0S6

Remember this New York Review of Books article on what’s wrong with the Nobel Prize in Literature? The president of the Nobel Committee has responded. http://bit.ly/ufwfK5

Peace
US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi have made an unprecedented public vow to work together and promote democratic reforms in Myanmar. http://bit.ly/uxrhG2

On Twitter @DigitisationSA is mining the Luthuli Museum archives to relive the stories and the controversies surrounding Albert Luthuli’s trip to Oslo 50 years ago, when he became the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Peace. http://bit.ly/vovb5c

The first English-language collection of works by Liu Xiaobo has been published in English on the first anniversary of his Peace Prize award. http://bbc.in/tqGXwS

The leaking of nominations for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize has begun… http://bit.ly/vVxktw

Economics
Readers of Freakonomics put their questions to Daniel Kahneman, father of behavioural economics. http://bit.ly/u15ngl

And finally…
In society news… Princess Madeleine is skipping this year’s Nobel Prize festivities in Stockholm to attend a women in science event in NYC. bit.ly/vIVeBf


The 2011 Nobel Prizes in quotes

“The decision to award the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to the late Ralph Steinman shall remain unchanged… The events that have occurred are unique and, to the best of our knowledge, are unprecedented in the history of the Nobel Prize… The decision to award the Nobel Prize to Ralph Steinman was made in good faith, based on the assumption that the Nobel Laureate was alive.”

Statement from the Nobel Foundation to confirm that Ralph Steinman would still be awarded the Medicine Prize, despite dying three days before the announcement was made.

 

“We got the first call from a reporter from Sweden, who asked me how I felt. And I said “How do I feel about what?” And he told me that we’d won the Prize and my wife, of course, rushed to the computer to check to see whether this was a hoax!”

Saul Perlmutter, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics, on not knowing he had been awarded the prize.

 

“The phone rang, it was 5:30, and it was Swedish-sounding people, and I knew they weren’t from Ikea.”

Adam Riess on being woken up by the call to tell him he had been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

 

“The biggest day of my life, I am trending on the Australia twitter… but I am still behind Happy National Taco Day? I have a lot to learn.”

Brian Schuldt, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics, on Twitter (aka @cosmicpinot)

 

“Danny Shechtman is talking nonsense. There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.”

Criticism Daniel Shechtman said he received from two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, who never accepted the findings that eventually led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

 

“2am in Haifa. What a day. If you’re a scientist and believe in your results, then fight for them. Even when Linus says you’re wrong. Danny”

Daniel Schechtman on Twitter (@danschechtman)

 

“Transtömer!”

Headline on the front page of the Culture section of Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter to celebrate the Stockholm-based poet’s Nobel Prize in Literature — the first Swedish Literature Prize since 1974.

 

“At first we had him down as a rank outsider but the committee have been known to spring a shock and punters the world over feel Dylan will be the beneficiary.”

Ladbrokes commenting on a rush of bets on Bob Dylan that brought his odds down from 100/1 to 5/1 favourite the day before the Literature Prize announcement.

 

“It sends out a message to the Arab world that you can’t ignore women if you want a democratic society.”

Thorbjørn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee during the 2011 Peace Prize announcement.

 

“Truly women have a place, truly women have a face, and truly the world has not been functioning well without the input, in every sphere, of women.”

Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate on the message she hopes her award will bring to the world.

 

“I feel very happy and I want to be like my mum in the future.”

Tawakul Karman’s 14-year-old daughter in response to the celebrations for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

“I’m not so sure it’s right to say we have worked together; it’s more that we have a series of continuing arguments many of which are still going on as I slowly persuade him of the error of his earlier positions.”

Christopher Sims on fellow Economics Laureate, Thomas Sargent, at a joint press conference.

 

 

“We are basically statistical historians”

Thomas Sargent, 2011 Economic Sciences Laureate with Sims, at the same press conference

Two weeks to go!

I’ve only just realized there’s little point in telling you about this blog without telling you when this year’s Nobel Prizes will be announced. So here you go, and remember that this year marks the 110th anniversary of the Nobel Prizes. If you want more info, the official announcement is here.

Monday, October 3 (11:30 CET)
Physiology or Medicine

Tuesday, October 4 (11:45 CET)
Physics

Wednesday, October 5 (11:45 CET)
Chemistry

Friday, October 7 (11:00 CET)
Peace

Monday, October 10 (13:00 CET)
Economic Sciences

As usual, Literature provides an added tease. The Literature announcement will be on a Thursday, though which Thursday the Prize-Awarding Committee chooses, most likely the 6th or 13th, will only be revealed the Friday before the announcement date.

How I hope this works…

My first post explained the ‘why’ behind this blog, this post explains the ‘how’. In the lead-up the 2011 Nobel Prize Announcements, the idea is to curate all the speculation, rumours and other must-read information, both new and from the archives. At the same time the plan is to experiment with creating “explainers” based on questions I have been asked most often in the past, which aims to provide essential background knowledge for following the announcements.

Once the Prizes are announced I’ll try to aggregate and filter the most interesting news stories, blogs and discussions on social media channels. By showcasing the best (and worst) stories and reactions, and uncovering hidden gems, I hope this curated information provides a broader, more compelling picture of each Prize.

I have no idea how all of this will pan out, but you can follow my efforts here, or in more raw, real-time form on my Twitter channel. I don’t want to just choose posts I like, so please send any links to good content, either as comments or to the email/Twitter details that appear on the About page.

I hate to end a post like this, but I do need to include an important caveat here. One thing that this blog won’t be able to provide is any insight into the secret process of nominating and selecting the Nobel Prizes. This is for no other reason than I had no privileged access to this information, and so I can’t shed any light on any queries (polite or otherwise) about who has or hasn’t received a Prize. I apologise in advance for not responding to any such comments, but I, like you, have to wait 50 years before I can find out any confidential information about an awarded prize.