The question of Abdus Salam ‘deserving’ his Nobel

Peter Woit has blogged about an oral history interview with theoretical physicist Sheldon Glashow published in 2020 by the American Institute of Physics. (They have a great oral history of physics series you should check out if you’re interested.) Woit zeroed in on a portion in which Glashow talks about his faltering friendship with Steven … Read more

Science prizes, wealth location and social signals

One count on which I almost always find myself to be an outlier in India is my opinion that the Nobel Prizes and their derivatives belong in the gutter. But while many people in other countries share this opinion of the Nobel Prizes, and often put their weight behind advancing this view, there are very … Read more

Caste, and science’s notability threshold

A webinar by The Life of Science on the construct of the ‘scientific genius’ just concluded, with Gita Chadha and Shalini Mahadev, a PhD scholar at HCU, as panellists. It was an hour long and I learnt a lot in this short time, which shouldn’t be surprising because, more broadly, we often don’t stop to … Read more

Review: ‘Salam – The First ****** Nobel Laureate’ (2018)

Awards are elevated by their winners. For all of the Nobel Prizes’ flaws and shortcomings, they are redeemed by what its laureates choose to do with them. To this end, the Pakistani physicist and activist Abdus Salam (1926-1996) elevates the prize a great deal. Salam – The First ****** Nobel Laureate is a documentary on Netflix … Read more

Two sides of the road and the gutter next to it

I have a mid-October deadline for an essay so obviously when I started reading up on the topic this morning, I ended up on a different part of the web – where I found this: a piece by a journalist talking about the problems with displaying one’s biases. Its headline: It’s a straightforward statement until … Read more

Why do we cover the Nobel Prize announcements?

The Nobel Prizes are too big to fail. Even if they’ve become beset by a host of problems, such as: Long gap between invention/discovery and recognition, A large cash component given to old scientists, Limiting number of awardees to three, Not awarding prizes posthumously, Not awarding prizes to women, especially in the sciences, and Limiting … Read more

The notion of the Nobel Prizes

Some points generated during a discussion with a friend: The Nobel Prizes used to be definitive of the orientation of scientific research in the past; however, staying on top of all recognition now is impossible as fields of research have diversified beyond Alfred Nobel’s, and the foundation’s, understanding and comprehension, respectively The media’s attention on … Read more