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Thread: Should the Nobel Prize award be changed

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Should the Nobel Prize award be changed

    I don't normally post in the Science forum, but this story rather caught my attention.

    The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

    The wider problem, beyond who should have received the prize and who should not, is that the Nobels reward individuals—three at most, for each of the scientific prizes, in any given year. And modern science, as Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus write in Stat, is “the teamiest of team sports.” Yes, researchers sometimes make solo breakthroughs, but that’s increasingly rare. Even within a single research group, a platoon of postdocs, students, and technicians will typically be involved in a discovery that gets hitched to a single investigator’s name. And more often than not, many groups collaborate on a single project. The paper in which the LIGO team announced their discovery has an author list that runs to three pages. Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors.

    Now, the method for choosing the recipient of the Nobel Prize is, to some degree, set forth in the Will of Alfred Nobel:

    Defenders of the prize note that the Nobel committee is bound to the conditions laid out in Alfred Nobel’s will—the document that established the awards. But the will calls for the recognition of “the person”—singular—who has made the important discovery in their respective field “during the preceding year.”

    The problem is that the Prize Committee has already played a little loose with that restriction:

    The Nobel committee, by contrast, recognizes up to three people, for work that could have been done decades prior. If they are already bending the original rules, why not go further? As the editors of Scientific American suggested in 2012, why not award the scientific prizes to teams and organizations, just like the Peace Prize can be?

    The linked article makes an excellent case for the problems with how the prize is currently awarded, and I would highly recommend reading it. So, what do you guys think? Should the Nobel Prize change how it is awarded to more accurately portray how scientific discoveries are made?

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    Veteran Member bmanmcfly's Avatar
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    The Nobel prize has been tainted by too many bad choices... Example: obama's peace prize for humanitarian bombs across the Middle East.
    Thanks from Rob Larrikin and syrenn

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    The Nobel prize has been tainted by too many bad choices... Example: obama's peace prize for humanitarian bombs across the Middle East.
    Entirely different thing. There is no correlation between how the Peace Prize is awarded, and how the Science Prize is awarded. The OP, and the linked article, was specifically about the science prize.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member bmanmcfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    Entirely different thing. There is no correlation between how the Peace Prize is awarded, and how the Science Prize is awarded. The OP, and the linked article, was specifically about the science prize.
    The name has been tainted IMO, reputations take years to build and seconds to destroy.
    Thanks from Rob Larrikin

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    Member Robert Urbanek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    I don't normally post in the Science forum, but this story rather caught my attention.

    The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

    The wider problem, beyond who should have received the prize and who should not, is that the Nobels reward individuals—three at most, for each of the scientific prizes, in any given year. And modern science, as Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus write in Stat, is “the teamiest of team sports.” Yes, researchers sometimes make solo breakthroughs, but that’s increasingly rare. Even within a single research group, a platoon of postdocs, students, and technicians will typically be involved in a discovery that gets hitched to a single investigator’s name. And more often than not, many groups collaborate on a single project. The paper in which the LIGO team announced their discovery has an author list that runs to three pages. Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors.

    Now, the method for choosing the recipient of the Nobel Prize is, to some degree, set forth in the Will of Alfred Nobel:

    Defenders of the prize note that the Nobel committee is bound to the conditions laid out in Alfred Nobel’s will—the document that established the awards. But the will calls for the recognition of “the person”—singular—who has made the important discovery in their respective field “during the preceding year.”

    The problem is that the Prize Committee has already played a little loose with that restriction:

    The Nobel committee, by contrast, recognizes up to three people, for work that could have been done decades prior. If they are already bending the original rules, why not go further? As the editors of Scientific American suggested in 2012, why not award the scientific prizes to teams and organizations, just like the Peace Prize can be?

    The linked article makes an excellent case for the problems with how the prize is currently awarded, and I would highly recommend reading it. So, what do you guys think? Should the Nobel Prize change how it is awarded to more accurately portray how scientific discoveries are made?
    Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors

    Hmm. I wonder if this authorship credit might be the science field equivalent of a "participation trophy."

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Urbanek View Post
    Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors

    Hmm. I wonder if this authorship credit might be the science field equivalent of a "participation trophy."
    You don't deny that, unlike in the past, most scientific discoveries are rather a "team effort", do you? I mean, Douglas Prasher was just as instrumental in the discovery of GFP (green fluorescent protein), but due to arbitrary limitations on how many persons can actually receive the award, only Osamu Shimomura, Roger Y. Tsien, and Martin Chalfie actually received the award. You don't find that even a little disingenuous?

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    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    All Nobel prizes are tainted now, its more of a joke than anything.

    Since Obama and Gore won it all categories have been affected.

    They are way too political now.
    Thanks from Rob Larrikin

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    Established Member NeoVsMatrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    I don't normally post in the Science forum, but this story rather caught my attention.

    The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

    The wider problem, beyond who should have received the prize and who should not, is that the Nobels reward individuals—three at most, for each of the scientific prizes, in any given year. And modern science, as Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus write in Stat, is “the teamiest of team sports.” Yes, researchers sometimes make solo breakthroughs, but that’s increasingly rare. Even within a single research group, a platoon of postdocs, students, and technicians will typically be involved in a discovery that gets hitched to a single investigator’s name. And more often than not, many groups collaborate on a single project. The paper in which the LIGO team announced their discovery has an author list that runs to three pages. Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors.

    Now, the method for choosing the recipient of the Nobel Prize is, to some degree, set forth in the Will of Alfred Nobel:

    Defenders of the prize note that the Nobel committee is bound to the conditions laid out in Alfred Nobel’s will—the document that established the awards. But the will calls for the recognition of “the person”—singular—who has made the important discovery in their respective field “during the preceding year.”

    The problem is that the Prize Committee has already played a little loose with that restriction:

    The Nobel committee, by contrast, recognizes up to three people, for work that could have been done decades prior. If they are already bending the original rules, why not go further? As the editors of Scientific American suggested in 2012, why not award the scientific prizes to teams and organizations, just like the Peace Prize can be?

    The linked article makes an excellent case for the problems with how the prize is currently awarded, and I would highly recommend reading it. So, what do you guys think? Should the Nobel Prize change how it is awarded to more accurately portray how scientific discoveries are made?
    I don't think it should be changes in the way that now 1000 people can share the nobel prize.. it kind of would also take away form the monetary value fit, if all you get is a mid-class dinner, or candy bar, form it.
    I'm actually pretty ok with this year's assignment.. take the physics prize, for example.
    Yes, there were more than 1000 people involved in doing the experiments, and analyzing the data.. a lot of work, 24/7, and the email alerting of the detection in the US, was actually received in Germany, by an Italian, who first looked into it...

    yet, those who got the nobel prize, were the ones with significant contributions in actually inventing and creating the LIGO detector, which made all this possible.
    And that to me is where the creatiivity lies, to have envisioned the apparatus that could help proving the existence of gravitational waves, much more than the physical labor of analyzing the data collected by the machine then.

    But, that's just me..

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVsMatrix View Post
    I don't think it should be changes in the way that now 1000 people can share the nobel prize.. it kind of would also take away form the monetary value fit, if all you get is a mid-class dinner, or candy bar, form it.
    I'm actually pretty ok with this year's assignment.. take the physics prize, for example.
    Yes, there were more than 1000 people involved in doing the experiments, and analyzing the data.. a lot of work, 24/7, and the email alerting of the detection in the US, was actually received in Germany, by an Italian, who first looked into it...

    yet, those who got the nobel prize, were the ones with significant contributions in actually inventing and creating the LIGO detector, which made all this possible.
    And that to me is where the creatiivity lies, to have envisioned the apparatus that could help proving the existence of gravitational waves, much more than the physical labor of analyzing the data collected by the machine then.

    But, that's just me..
    Interesting perspective.
    So would you argue that Nikolaus Otto deserves more credit for the automobile than Henry Ford because he invented the engine that made the whole thing possible, whereas Ford simply pioneered the assembly process?

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    Member Iolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    The Nobel prize has been tainted by too many bad choices... Example: obama's peace prize for humanitarian bombs across the Middle East.
    He got a prize for not being Bush, and he should get four more for not being Trump. Best deserved for years!

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