TED Conversations

Andrew Kiang

TEDCRED 50+

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What’s your favorite (and/or least favorite) Nobel-Prize-winning science?

The Nobel Prize is awarded annually in recognition of significant scientific advances. In my Bioelectricity class, we’ve already learned about many Nobel Prize winners. Arrhenius, for example, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1903 for his electrolytic theory concerning the dissociation of ions (electrically charged particles), Nernst, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1920 for his work in understanding the energy of reactions, Hodgkin and Huxley won in 1963 for their discoveries concerning nerve action potentials, Neher and Sakmann received one in 1991 for work to isolate single ion channels in cells, and MacKinnon was awarded the Prize in Chemistry in 2003 for his discoveries concerning ion channels in cell membranes, just to name a few!
However, although the Nobel Prize for sciences is awarded formally for physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine, there is no prize for engineering, for example, and also there have been controversies for prizes awarded in the past. And, so, why not ask:
What’s your favorite (and/or least favorite) Nobel-Prize-winning science? What makes science “good” or “bad” at all?

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Closing Statement from Andrew Kiang

Thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite Nobel Prize winners and your opinions about what makes "good" science. In the end, "good science" is still hard to define clearly but it seems to lean on the side of working genuinely to benefit mankind. I am glad to hear there are other prizes with as much prestige as the Nobel. Good work in other categories besides the strict Nobel sciences need to be encouraged.

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  • Feb 11 2012: For sure Rita Levi Montalcini, who is today a hundred and something, is still very curious, communicates with the young generations and inspire them-check her facebook page! and has a great sense of humour. She and her cousin, Dr Sacerdoce de Lustig who made the most valuable research on Polio at the beginning of the century, where the 2 first women to be graduated in Medecine at the beginning of the century.
    I'm convinced she would deliver once of the best performances at TED.
    • Feb 12 2012: After reading the short Wiki about her, if she would agree to do a TED talk, I would certainly listen with baited breath. Even outside my field, there is nothing more meaningful to me than listening to the teachings of learned elders. There are always so many things to learn!

      I hope I reach the age and the wisdom to inspire the same feeling...I doubt both, but I do hope...
      • Feb 12 2012: Wow this is amazing! I wonder what wisdom she would have to impart on us.

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