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Osaze Udeagbala

Student , Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

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Are Nobel Prizes overrated?

Since the issuing of the first award in 1901, the Nobel Prize has become the pinnacle of general recognition. Many would agree that those who have received the Nobel Prize have done great work in their field, but even so there are themes of rejection, redemption, and controversy surrounding the awards. In my Bioelectricity class, for example, we have discussed a number of Nobel Laureates such as Arrhenius, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1903, for work that once received less than stellar reviews from his very own professors, and Nernst, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1920 for work based on the work of Arrhenius. We have also seen in history (e.g. Rosalind Franklin) circumstances in which scientists have participated closely with Nobel Prize-winning research, but nonetheless were left unrecognized. Finally, as there are very few categories for this award (physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace), notably left out are awards for engineering, technology and other advancements for humankind. So I ask the TED community: Do you think Nobel Prize are awarded effectively? And with respect to science: Who is better at evaluating the value of a scientist’s research? Peers? Awards committees? Especially given the fact that it often takes many years to see if research can stand the test of time? Are Nobel Prizes overrated?


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    Feb 7 2013: Can't say whether it's over or under rated as a whole....but definitely can say my personal feeling that it's not unbiased....

    Moreover real winners seldom cares about it......
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      Feb 7 2013: Hi Salim,

      Are you referring to certain Nobel awards or all of them collectively?

      Also, I understand that Nobel Laureates tend to take the award in stride and go back to their work, but I think it's also important to keep in mind that the Nobel Prize title remains attached to them and their work indefinitely. Without a doubt, this distinction has an impact on future generations. Do you think this cultural impact is merited?
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        Feb 8 2013: Hi Osaze
        Well when certain cases become doubtful it impacts collectively the whole even if the rest of the whole was not doubtful... that's the case.

        I don't disagree that Nobel Prize has got a high Brand Value......which makes not only the person but the whole country / nation from to which the winner belongs feel proud of...

        Can you please clarify what you wnated to mean by saying Cultural Impact Being Merited ?

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