UCSD Chemistry Nobel laureate Roger Tsien dies. Amongst many other achievements, he is most well known as co-discoverer of Green Fluorescent Protein, which, as well as making headlines with glow-in-the dark rats, initiated a field that revolutionized biology and our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of disease and life itself. More reaction and links from In The Pipeline. [more inside]
Earlier this month, Youyou Tu was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, also known as qinghaosu. She is the first Chinese Nobel recipient for work that was done in mainland China. Dr. Tu's studies were done in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, a politically precarious time for Chinese academics, which adds a layer of historical complexity to her work. It is difficult to overstate the importance of artemisinin to anti-malarial efforts. Unfortunately, artemisinin-resistant strains of malaria are already beginning to appear only thirty years after the drug was introduced.
The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011." [more inside]
Svetlana Alexievich is the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature: "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time". Alexievich is a Belarusian writer and is unusual among Nobel laureates in that she is primarily a non-fiction writer. Her most famous book is Voices from Chernobyl, and you can read an extract in The Paris Review. You can read more about her books on her website and read excerpts in English. John Lloyd wrote a long review of her book Zinky Boys for the London Review of Books. And you can read an interview with her on the home page of her American publisher, Dalkey Archive.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur B. McDonald of Canada share the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in neutrino oscillations ("metamorphosis in neutrinos" in the press release), in which neutrinos switch flavors as it propagates through space. The finding has a large impact on the standard model, as it requires neutrinos to have non-zero mass.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for discovering how your brain creates a map of the space surrounding you, and how you navigate your way through a complex environment. [more inside]
Writing is a strange and solitary activity. There are dispiriting times when you start working on the first few pages of a novel. Every day, you have the feeling you are on the wrong track. This creates a strong urge to go back and follow a different path. It is important not to give in to this urge, but to keep going. It is a little like driving a car at night, in winter, on ice, with zero visibility. You have no choice, you cannot go into reverse, you must keep going forward while telling yourself that all will be well when the road becomes more stable and the fog lifts.—From Patrick Modiano's lecture when receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature [Original French, Swedish and video] which is about cities, old telephone directories but mostly about writing, how to do it and what it's like.
"No one really wants to admit I exist," says co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, James Watson, who after years of shunning over controversial statements is auctioning his 1962 Nobel Prize medal this Thursday to help pay bills and buy some artwork. Online bidding is an option.
"MIT’s students, faculty, and alumni won 80 Nobel Prizes between 1944 and 2013. In that time, MIT football won a total of 80 games." Until this year. This season's MIT football team is undefeated, 8-0.
"Kailash Satyarthi, the child rights activist from India, and Malala Yousufzai, the activist for girls education in Pakistan, were announced as the joint winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday."
2014 Nobel Prize in Literature Goes to Patrick Modiano who is a French novelist and memoir writer. This article from 2011 is a good overview over his career and life. He was born in Italy to a Jewish father and a Belgian mother. Much of his writing deals with recent Jewish history such as in the book Dora Bruder. His detective novel Missing Person, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1978, has been called a postmodern mystery novel.
On Sunday, July 13th 2014, Africa's Nobel Laureates in Literature balanced the eternal dance of life and death. On that day, Nigerian poet Wole Soyinka celebrated his 80th birthday with Presidents and paeans, even as South African author Nadine Gordimer passed away that night at age 90. Each, in their own way with words, took on the challenge of race and colour.
Alice Munro, awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, was unable to travel to Stockholm due to her health, so the committee went to her. This is their 30 minute interview with the celebrated author. [more inside]
"... and so I took an economics course and I loved it," during a phone interview in the early morning today. Likewise, conversations with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, shortly after the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded jointly to them for their academic contributions to the field of asset pricing. UChicago News, Yale News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Bloomberg report. [more inside]
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, with the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying, "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons." [more inside]
Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Munro is praised by the Swedish Academy as a "master of the contemporary short story." You can read a long interview with her at the Paris Review website and read some of her short fiction at The New Yorker's website: Amundsen, Gravel, Face, Deep-Holes, Free Radicals, Dimension, Wenlock Edge, The View from Castle Rock, Passion, Runaway and The Bear Came Over the Mountain.
Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what's typically found in a routine diet. Industry representatives, backed by a fascinating history, argue that foods don't contain enough, and we need supplements. Fortunately, many excellent studies have now resolved the issue.(SLAtlantic)
Pablo Neruda (bio, pics, recordings) was a Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner. His work comprises 48 books* (excluding posthumous publications), the most famous of which remain Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (scribd, alt) (Spanish, alt) and Canto General (Spanish). Documentary. [more inside]
We introduced UNZ.org before but it's probably worth revisiting for a vein of gold, the Nobel Prize Library (1971), which contains full modern translations of significant works of 20th century literature. For example [more inside]
In the spirit of the Nobel season, Yasha Levine discusses the history of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel as a PR gimmick for laissez-faire economics, and how its existence is an affront to the Nobel legacy.
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche (France) and David Wineland (US) for discovering ways to measure and manipulate quantum particles, a discovery which many are suggesting may soon allow us to build computers with virtually limitless capabilities. The Nobel press release provides a layman friendly PDF summary of the research and its potential applications, as well as a less layman friendly PDF with additional scientific background information. The press release cites two older Scientific American articles for further reading, and the magazine has made these articles available to read free online for the next 30 days:
Monroe, C. R. and Wineland, D. J. (2008) Quantum Computing with Ions, Scientific American, August.
Yam, P. (1997) Bringing Schrödinger’s Cat to Life, Scientific American, June.
Monroe, C. R. and Wineland, D. J. (2008) Quantum Computing with Ions, Scientific American, August.
Yam, P. (1997) Bringing Schrödinger’s Cat to Life, Scientific American, June.
Mo Yan has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. A Chinese novelist, born as Guan Moye, his pen name means "don't speak." His most famous novel, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, was turned into an acclaimed film in 1987. Here are some interviews with Mo Yan: Granta, National Endowment for the Humanities and Paper Republic. Speculation was rife in China before the announcement whether Mo Yan would receive it, and the matter was controversial. For people who haven't read any books by Mo Yan, the Swedish Academy recommends Garlic Ballads [NYT]. For more news over the day, keep an eye on The Literary Saloon and The Guardian's liveblog.
21 Years Later, Aung San Suu Kyi Receives Her Nobel Peace Prize. After two decades spent mostly under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has finally delivered her acceptance speech in Oslo for the Nobel peace prize she was awarded in 1991.
London art space The Mosaic Rooms have mounted a tribute (PDF brochure) to 81 year old Syrian poet, essayist, and now artist Adonis (born Ali Ahmad Said Asbar). The poet's relevance in the era of the Arab Spring has been questioned, but many still considered Adonis a top candidate to win a Nobel in poetry (Tomas Tranströmer edged him out last year).
Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. His poetry has been translated into more than five dozen languages and is the living poet who has been translated most into English. He received the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2007, and the award page is a pretty extensive source of information. Below the cut I'll include a few of his poems that I've found online, but the best place to start is the poetry section of his website, where you'll also find an interview, video, audio and a list of English translations. Tom Slegh wrote an appreciation of Tranströmer and Mary Karr and Christopher Robinson discuss him briefly on Poetry Fix, and read two of his poems. [more inside]
An American writer hasn't won the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1993 (Toni Morrison). Slate's Alexander Nazaryan tells us why: "The rising generation of writers behind Oates, Roth and DeLillo are dominated by Great Male Narcissists — even the writers who aren’t male (or white)."
On Monday, me and some dudes are gonna tailgate outside the Kellogg School of Management before the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is announced.
"I remember back in the '90s, when I first heard about their discovery of cell receptors activated by pathogenic microorganisms. I was in this bar called Alumni Club on Clark Street in Chicago. It's gone now, which is fine because it was terrible. Doesn't matter, I guess, but me and my buddies had just polished off a mound of wings and, like, seven buckets of Corona when this dude comes in blabbing about the critical role dendritic cells play in adaptive immunity. I almost kicked the hell out of him on the spot, but I have to admit the slides he brought made me a believer." Dennis O'Toole uses the Nobel Prize to satirize sports commentary in hilarious fashion. (SLNPR)
In 1973, while working as a young post-doc in Zanvil A. Cohn's laboratory in Rockefeller University, Ralph Steinman described a completely new immune cell within the lymphoid organs of mice (original paper can be read here). Based on it's distinctive shape, with it's many branched projections, he named the cell "dendritic cell" (derived from the Greek word for "tree"). Such began a prolific and illustrious career, devoted to the further understanding of these cells, which transformed the way the world understood how the immune system worked. Yesterday, Dr Steinman was awarded the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity". Tragically, he had died just three days earlier of pancreatic cancer, and never learned that he was to be awarded science’s top honour. [more inside]
Fiction is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist, renewing and preserving in us the best of what is human. [PDF] [more inside]
The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Beijing had previously warned the Nobel committee not to honour Liu. A BBC biography of Liu from last year: "Now his name is unknown. But one day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen - a model example."
for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat
Mario Vargas Llosa wrote poems when he was young. His father famously responded by sending the boy to military school—where he spent two ghastly years, gathering inspiration for his first novel—La Ciudad y Los Perros, published in English as The Time of the Hero. The military burned a thousand copies of the book and Vargas Llosa's infamy was secured.Mario Vargas Llosa, who once ran for president of Peru and once punched Gabriel Garcia Márquez in the face, has won the Nobel Prize in Literature, meaning Ladbrokes dodged a bullet. [more inside]
Andre Geim has earned many awards from his peers for groundbreaking research in physics, but he's arguably only won the attention of the general public a couple times: First for levitating a frog, and then for discovering 2D atomic crystals. For these efforts he has become the first person to be a laureate of both the Ig Nobel Prize and Nobel Prize.
Experts are little help in the constant struggle in this conversation to separate myth from reality, because they have the same difficulty, and routinely demonstrate it by talking past each other. Respected scientists warn of imminent energy shortages as geologic fuel supplies run out. Wall Street executives dismiss their predictions as myths and call for more drilling. Environmentalists describe the destruction to the earth from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Economists ignore them and describe the danger to the earth of failing to burn coal, oil, and natural gas. Geology researchers report fresh findings about what the earth was like millions of years ago. Creationist researchers report fresh findings that the earth didn’t exist millions of years ago. The only way not to get lost in this awful swamp is to review the basics and decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t. [more inside]
Portuguese writer and 1998's Nobel Prize for Literature recipient José Saramago has died, age 87. [News link in Portuguese] He died in Lanzarote, Spain, where he had lived since a bust-up in the early 1990s with Portugal's government over his controversial book, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Saramago wrote nearly 30 books, and was cited for the Nobel as a writer "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality." No holiday for death, after all.
We've had a post on bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding previously, but perhaps we could do with an update. Last year she played at the White House for Stevie Wonder's Gershwin Prize concert and again for the Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word (previously). In December she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and, according to wikipedia, her February 6 performance on Austin Cty Limits (PBS [US only?], with Madeleine Peyroux) made her the most-searched person, and the second-most-searched item on Google the next day. [more inside]
It may increase schadenfreude. It's an assistant to abortifacients and it's produced by stimulating the nipples. Got a clogged lizard? Your mom used it to turn off your brain for your own good. In women, it peaks at orgasm, but in men, it might be elevated throughout sex without peaking. And what do you mean "social" monogamy!? Is it the love 'em and leave 'em hormone?? Well, it's NOT Vasopressin For Her, contrary to what some people think. Is it an impedance to feminism? Could it be the key to treating Autism? Ism... ism... jism? YEP. It's in the jism! Its synthesis was the end of A Trail of Sulfa Research, and its master was awarded the Nobel Prize. (Chemistry, not Peace.) You can scent your loveletters with it, but sorry, peaches... you can't huff a good cuddle, but you might like to huff while you cuddle. Previously.
This year's Nobel Laureate in Literature is Romanian born author Herta Müller, who writes in German, as predicted yesterday by M. A. Orthofer of The Complete Review and Literary Saloon. Here's an interview with Herta Müller and a short bio.
Joseph Brodsky: In Praise of Boredom -- from his Dartmouth College commencement address in 1995. " Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one's mental equilibrium. It is your window on time's infinity. Once this window opens, don't try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open. For boredom speaks the language of time, and it teaches you the most valuable lesson of your life: the lesson of your utter insignificance. It is valuable to you, as well as to those you are to rub shoulders with. "You are finite," time tells you in the voice of boredom, "and whatever you do is, from my point of view, futile."
How to (and how not to) write poetry -- "selections from columns originally published in the Polish newspaper Literary Life. In these columns, famed poet Wislawa Szymborska answered letters from ordinary people who wanted to write poetry. Translated by Clare Cavanagh." Here is her Nobel acceptance speech, where she charmingly imagines a dialogue between herself and Ecclesiastes.
What to Do. 2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics Paul Krugman on what to do about the economic crisis. [Via]
"...For his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity," the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics has been awarded to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize. A former Finnish President, an UN envoy, a social democrat, a school teacher and founder of Crisis Management Initiative has negotiated for peace in many troubled areas for three decades. Last fall and last summer CMI (without Ahtisaari's presence) called former Northern Ireland and South African militants to use their experience for finding Iraqi factions a way out of bloodshed. A plan for Kosovo. Negotiations ending 30-year conflict in Aceh, Indonesia. Negotiating Namibia independence. Got conflict? Mr. Ahtisaari is your man.
The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to scientists who advanced the use of jellyfish green florescent protein, or GFP (previously), an indispensable tool in molecular biology. The man who discovered the GFP gene, however, is doing something quite different these days. [more inside]
The Nobel Prize in Literature goes to French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. Here's an old interview, a short video interview (in French) and a short story (in English).
Nobels for Physics announced. The prize will be shared between three individuals, including one American teaching at the University of Chicago. The other two winners are from Japan, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa .
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