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2011 Nobel Prizes

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  • 2011 Nobel Prizes

    The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced today. There were three winners: Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann, and Ralph M. Steinman. Apparently the committee wasn't aware that the latter recipient had passed away (the award must go to a living person) but they've decided that he will remain a laureate.

    The announcement schedule:
    - 10/4: Physics
    - 10/5: Chemistry
    - 10/6: Literature
    - 10/7: Peace Prize
    - 10/10: Economics

    It's been nearly 20 years since an American writer won in Literature, so there's talk that Cormac McCarthy or Philip Roth might finally receive the prize.

    Any Armenians in the running?

  • #2
    Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

    Hi Tom! This is interesting. Please come back and update the thread as the announcements are made. If you can find a little snippet about what accomplishments they're being awarded for, that would be even more awesome!
    [COLOR=#4b0082][B][SIZE=4][FONT=trebuchet ms]“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
    -Henry Ford[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

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    • #3
      Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

      Here's Medicine:

      Originally posted by InsideHigherEd
      3 Share Nobel in Medicine for Work on Immunity

      Three researchers who focus on immunity were today awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann will share half of the prize "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity." The other half of the prize goes to Ralph M. Steinman "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity."

      Beutler is professor of genetics and immunology at the Scripps Research Institute. He formerly did research at Rockefeller University in New York and the University of Texas at Dallas. Information about his lab at Scripps may be found here. Hoffman formerly was director of the Institute for Molecular Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France, and during 2007-8 was President of the French National Academy of Sciences. Steinman is professor of immunology and director of the Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases at Rockefeller University. More information about his work may be found here.
      And Physics:

      Originally posted by NPR

      Accelerating Universes, Nobel Prizes And A Revolution In Cosmology

      by Adam Frank


      Remnants of Tycho's Supernova, seen in an X-ray/infrared composite image. The supernova was observed by Tycho Brahe and other skywatchers in 1572.
      MPIA/NASA

      Remnants of Tycho's Supernova, seen in an X-ray/infrared composite image. The supernova was observed by Tycho Brahe and other skywatchers in 1572.

      It was one of those moments you live for as a scientist. One day you think you know what's going on. The next the world has been turned upside down.

      Today the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to scientists who discovered that the universe was accelerating. Is that worth a Nobel Prize? Yup. Here is why.

      As I was coming up as a graduate student, we were taught that the fate of the post-big bang universe had just a few possibilities. One was that the gravity from all the stuff in the cosmos would slow everything down enough to eventually halt the expansion and lead, one day, to a collapse and a "big crunch." In the other possibilities, gravity played a role decelerating the universe but not enough to stop expansion which would continue, essentially, forever.

      The idea that the expansion of the universe was actually speeding up — that it was accelerating — was not in anyone's playbook.


      So deceleration was the key. Everyone was looking for deceleration because, once you found it, and found how big it was, you could predict the fate of the universe. Deceleration was what the different teams of scientists were looking for when they started measuring the brightness from very, very distant supernova.

      Deceleration is not what they found.

      If the universe had been decelerating, those distant supernova would have be closer than if the universe was just coasting forever. That means the amount of light from the exploding stars should have been brighter (just as headlights from a nearby car are brighter than headlights from a distant car). But the supernovae weren't brighter, they were dimmer. That meant they were even farther away than anyone thought. This was not the result folks expected.

      After testing and retesting the finding, the conclusion had to be that the universe was accelerating. Its expansion has been speeding up not slowing down, sweeping objects like the supernova farther away from us in the time since the big bang.

      Accleration needs energy and the stunning conclusion to fall out of these observations was that the universe as a whole was full of some kind of invisible energy pushing space apart. No one knew what this dark energy was, so, in a fit of creativity, it was named "dark energy." Calculations soon showed that dark energy dominated over all other forms in the universe. Dark Energy, in this sense, was the Universe.

      Nobody ordered this. Nobody expected it. Nobody knew what to do with it. It came as a complete surprise.

      It sent cosmologists back to their blackboards rethinking the structure of the Universe and its history. It was the first shot in a revolution that is still underway.

      What could be more exciting?
      link to article
      [COLOR=#4b0082][B][SIZE=4][FONT=trebuchet ms]“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
      -Henry Ford[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

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      • #4
        Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

        Originally posted by TomServo View Post
        The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced today. There were three winners: Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann, and Ralph M. Steinman. Apparently the committee wasn't aware that the latter recipient had passed away (the award must go to a living person) but they've decided that he will remain a laureate.
        Any Armenians in the running?
        Even any dead Americans? Given that dead Americans can get themselves elected http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/11...in-california/

        Sorry for interupting a serious thread.
        Last edited by bell-the-cat; 10-04-2011, 07:41 AM.
        Plenipotentiary meow!

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        • #5
          Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

          Acceleration instead of deceleration seems to indicate that something is either pushing stuff in space further away or something is pulling them harder then before. The big bang tells us its a push but if that is so it should not be being pushed any harder then since the original bang (where would such addiitional energy be coming from?).
          This award like many others is often more based on politics then merit and this has a turn off effect on me.
          Hayastan or Bust.

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          • #6
            Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

            I nominate Obama for a Nobel Peace Prize repeat!
            Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!

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            • #7
              Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

              Originally posted by Federate View Post
              I nominate Obama for a Nobel Peace Prize repeat!
              Only if the Nobel Committee start using the word "peace" in the same way as NATO and the UN use it: over the last decade many hundreds of thousands have been prematurely given the "peace" of the grave thanks to them. Though the Peace Prize is the most politicised of the Nobel prizes, so anything is possible.
              Last edited by bell-the-cat; 10-04-2011, 09:04 AM.
              Plenipotentiary meow!

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              • #8
                Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

                Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                Acceleration instead of deceleration seems to indicate that something is either pushing stuff in space further away or something is pulling them harder then before. The big bang tells us its a push but if that is so it should not be being pushed any harder then since the original bang (where would such addiitional energy be coming from?).
                This award like many others is often more based on politics then merit and this has a turn off effect on me.
                Look, the Nobel committee clearly gets it wrong sometimes or whatever... Forget the prize and look instead at the discovery they're recognizing -- is it not an important ground-breaking discovery?

                I think the point is that it's a counter intuitive finding and it necessitated reformulating some hypotheses as to the structure and fate of the universe to include this finding. So it was a big discovery because it added a big piece of information challenging the previously favored explanation.

                No offense, but I would never say it must be A or B and those are the only two explanations... I know physicists who wouldn't be comfortable making that kind of statement because they don't specialize in cosmology.

                This was an important discovery because it's a game changer.
                [COLOR=#4b0082][B][SIZE=4][FONT=trebuchet ms]“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
                -Henry Ford[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

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                • #9
                  Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

                  Here's another article which explains the discovery and puts it into context.

                  <3 Jennifer Oullette - great science writer

                  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...ting-universe/
                  [COLOR=#4b0082][B][SIZE=4][FONT=trebuchet ms]“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
                  -Henry Ford[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 2011 Nobel Prizes

                    I am not saying it is not a important discovery, it sounds very interesting and indeed a gamechanger type of discovery. I am saying that this award and the committee that presents it are biased and politicaly motivated. The most intersting thing for me is finding out the source of energy that is pushing or pulling because acceleration requires it. I do not know why but i seem to have trouble with most of the links you post Siggie. This one asks me to refresh it and when i do nothing happens.. I love science and i hate seeing it mutilated by politics and religion.
                    Hayastan or Bust.

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