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Thread: Wrong Nobels

  1. #1
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    Wrong Nobels

    Are there any Nobel Prizes given for "discoveries" which later turned out to be erroneous?

  2. #2
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    Nobel's are for advancements, so generally you can't make one erroneous discovery and receive an award.

    On the other hand there have been contentious awards. The main issue is people have limited life spans and the award is only granted to living people. A delay has to be weighed against premature awards and possible death. Then there is the possibility that someone could make some bad decisions in life and mar an award that was already given. It's all very debateable.
    Solfe, Dominus Maris Pavos.

  3. #3
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    From a member of the selection committee of one of the prizes, I was once told that doing something stupid would not count against you as long as you did some other things that were good. This is apparently an explicit discussion that the committee had.

    Note that this is from a private, casual conversation between me and a member of the committee - I have absolutely no means to verify the accuracy of what he told me.

    But if it is accurate, it wouldn't fall into the category of "Wrong Nobels", but rather "Right Nobels for someone who also did something else that is wrong".

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    Wasn't a Nobel given for the Lobotomy? And isn't that considered bad science?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Wasn't a Nobel given for the Lobotomy? And isn't that considered bad science?
    See this article:

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_pri...z-article.html

    At the time the prize was awarded, there was virtually no other way to treat the patients on whom the surgery was performed, and many of them appeared to benefit from it. This appears to be a case in which an originally prize-worthy procedure has been superceded, and should not reflect negatively on the doctors who developed it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Wasn't a Nobel given for the Lobotomy? And isn't that considered bad science?
    It is now. It's less likely in chemistry or physics than physiology & medicine. The non-science prizes are much more prone to "wrong" awards because they don't deal with evidence-based subjects.

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  7. #7
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    Yeah, there's lots of debate about some of the Peace prizes, and of course literature is always going to be contentious. Though the stupidest argument I've seen is a woman who expressed shock that this year's Nobel went to someone whose work had been adapted to films, can you believe it? There are three weird things, here.

    1. She didn't mention that he's actually written screenplays.

    2. The list of past winners whose work has been adapted to film is long and includes, like, John Steinbeck.

    3. She's a film critic.
    _____________________________________________
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Yeah, there's lots of debate about some of the Peace prizes, and of course literature is always going to be contentious. Though the stupidest argument I've seen is a woman who expressed shock that this year's Nobel went to someone whose work had been adapted to films, can you believe it? There are three weird things, here.

    1. She didn't mention that he's actually written screenplays.

    2. The list of past winners whose work has been adapted to film is long and includes, like, John Steinbeck.

    3. She's a film critic.
    I wonder what she thought about Bob Dylan last year?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I wonder what she thought about Bob Dylan last year?
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    The one quote I remember about Bob Dylan was from Saturday Night Live: "I've suffered for my music. Now, you can suffer, too."

    Literature, Peace, and -- in my opinion -- Economics are all heavily influenced by social considerations. The science prizes are, too, but nowhere near as much.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I wonder what she thought about Bob Dylan last year?
    That, I don't know, but I can tell you that I wasn't thrilled!
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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