Saturday, October 10, 2009

New trend for Nobel Prizes

Some have argued that it's OK to dole out Nobel Peace Prizes based on potential and expressed good intentions. As long as the nominee has promised to get something done, there is all reason to believe that this will in fact happen. Is this trend going to continue into other branches - say into physics and chemistry? Will the prizes be awarded to some grad student based on spectacular performance during doctorate studies as well as the student's promise of more and better results once he or she gets a faculty position?

If potential and media hype was all that was required, how do you explain Marit Bjørgen?

If it is reasonable to assume that what a politician promises during the election campaign will come true once he or she is elected, how do you think SV voters are feeling about Soria Moria II?

Then again, at least they didn't award the Nobel Peace Prize to someone for cutting down on their genocide agenda.


Anders said...

There is one more thing that is a bit dodgy about this year's price: The chair of the Nobel commitee, Torbjørn Jagland, was still an active member of Stortinget when the price was decided. A member of parlament giving the world's most prestigious award to head of a state. One could argue that the price is seriously brown-nosing to improve the relationship with the world's most powerful nation. Especially since the Norwegian-American relation was indeed weakend during the former US president.

Wilhelm said...

My main gripe is the transition from the Nobel peace Prize as a lifetime achievement award - or at least for a recognition of work done over a prolonged period - to a top 40 type of award where the whole body of work is ignored in favor of the first derivative.

Which is all good and well, but if you support this pov, at least have the dignity not to complain about a lack of dimensions in current reporting about politics or anything else.

I personally also think that the criteria for getting a Nobel prize should be somewhat scaled with respect to your position - like if you're the most powerful head of state on the planet, the bar should be higher.

Anders said...

I see your point, and I partially agree. My main concern is that if this years award is typical for the direction the award, the prestige of the price will be watered down. Legendary persons and organizations of former laureates like Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, The Red Cross, Amnesty, Martin Luther King, UNICEF and Nelson Mandela is and have given the price a unique position. If the Nobel Committee is to award the price based on politicians promises during the election campaign, I'm afraid it's highly probable the price will loose some of it's former glory pretty fast.