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Nobel Expectations

November 24, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 47

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The editor of any newsmagazine has unlimited latitude in choosing the subject and content of an editorial. As a scholar and a world citizen, one may have a limited and compartmentalized viewpoint on many issues faced by our civilization. At times, these viewpoints are contradictory and lack resolution on many fronts. Among these is the announcement of awards at the beginning of October each year under the venerable name Nobel.

The editorial "Nobel Nonsense" evoked an expectation that was opposed to the content (C&EN, Oct. 20, page 5). Every year, many feel ignored in all fields in which the Nobel Prize is awarded. It is a grave misunderstanding even among scientists that the Nobel Prize is awarded to individuals, and many take it as a personal affront if they do not win. The Nobel Prize recognizes the eminence of the achievement in the subject matter at hand, and the individual(s) are a conduit to convey the same.

It is time the news media stop using the Nobel Prize as a measure of national superiority, as is blatantly used for Olympic sports competitions. A dedicated scientist has no appetite to look at science as a race toward Stockholm.

Brahama D. Sharma
Pismo Beach, Calif.


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