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Policy

Nobel Expectations

December 22, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 51

I APPLAUD Rudy Baum's editorial about this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and other recent "wrongheaded" selections or omissions (C&EN, Oct. 20, page 5). But his first sentence is its own brand of "Nobel Nonsense."

Practically everybody criticizes some Nobel selection or other at some point in time. I can hardly think of a year since I first became aware of the existence and meaning of Nobels that I haven't also been aware of some "controversy," either about some winner or nonwinner that year, or lingering controversy over a past selection.

As for the notion that being "brash, extremely self-confident Americans, which these days seems to be a major impediment," Baum has evidently never met, or heard talks by, any of the physics winners I know or a lot of recent chemistry and physiology or medicine winners, as well. Not to mention Al Gore.

Jay Banks
New York City

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