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Nobel Prize For Medicine Awarded, Physics Soon To Follow 135

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the tis-the-season dept.
Nobel Prize season is here again, and the first award for Physiology or Medicine was split between two virologists who discovered HIV and one who demonstrated that a virus causes cervical cancer. Coming soon is the announcement for Physics. Look to the right for a chance to pit your selection wit against the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences with a poll for which scientific achievement deserves the prize. Front runners, according to Reuters, are; Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, discovers of graphene, Vera Rubin, provider of the best evidence yet of dark matter, and Roger Penrose and Dan Shechtman, discoverers of Penrose tilings and quasicrystals.
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Nobel Prize For Medicine Awarded, Physics Soon To Follow

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  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @12:46PM (#25274607) Homepage Journal

    This guy has done so much for physics, that at some point, he deserves it just from such an enormous body of work. He inspires Hawking, does all sorts of work with theories of everything, he then writes it all up in a simple book that explains how everything works without skimping too much on the math, what more do you need a man to do?

    • by DriedClexler (814907) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:07PM (#25274863)

      I'm going to have to disagree. I know this sounds trollish, but I'm really not trying to start a flamewar, and I ask that you keep it civil in telling me how wrong I am. Here goes:

      Whatever the greatness of Penrose's discovery, he threw it all away when he started advocating the quantum gravity theory of uncomputable physics as the basis for creativity. Right or wrong, he's advocating a theory which a) does not have enough evidence to come anywhere close to favoring it over more deserving theories, and b) was chosen so that it would be lots of work to falsify.

      Scientists should hold themselves to a higher standard than the "principle of Epicurus", i.e. accept all hypotheses not yet falsified. They shoud believe whatever the evidence reveals to have the *highest* probability, not just pick their personal favorite theory that hasn't specifically been ruled out yet. To paraphrase Eliezer Yudkowsky, the fact that the map is blurry does not give you the right fill in streets wherever you feel like.

      Is it going too far to count his unscientific theory against his previous successes? No. Scientific committees need to consider not just the immediate, but also the long-term consequences of giving their endorsement to individuals. While they should give out degrees to people who like to hold unscientific beliefs in their spare time, they should not hold them out as shining examples of "someone doing it right".

      • by mblase (200735) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:25PM (#25275061)

        Whatever the greatness of Penrose's discovery, he threw it all away when he started advocating the quantum gravity theory of uncomputable physics as the basis for creativity.

        Bah to that. Nobel prizes are for specific discoveries, not for a person's reputation since then. You might as well say Einstein should be discredited because he changed his mind about the cosmological constant.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Bah to that. Nobel prizes are for specific discoveries, not for a person's reputation since then.

          However, in the context of GGP's point being that a Prize is due for total body of work, GP's point that various controversial acts of subject's career are enough to disqualify him seems valid.

        • But alas, many publications, especially more pedestrian ones, often simply cite a person as a Nobel Laureate. As a result, the reality you describe is not necessarily evident to the general public, who will sometimes ask "wait, why do physicists like Einstein so much if he started being wrong when he got older?" in incomprehension, and under the assumption that everything has to be absolute.
        • by fm6 (162816) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:34PM (#25276507) Homepage Journal

          Einstein's changing his mind about a theoretical concept is hardly comparable with what Penrose did. He didn't simply restructure a theory. He tried to rationalize a completely new model of the physics behind human intelligence. This model is popular in some circles because it seems to re-assert the concept of free will. That has a lot of implications outside physics: psychology, ethics, artificial intelligence, etc. When you come with a theory with those kinds of implications, you really have an obligation to make sure your ideas have a solid foundation. And there's a lot of good arguments that Penrose didn't do that.

          Now, it's true that the physics prize is awarded for a specific achievement, not for being a good scientist. But there's a lot of science going on out there, and I doubt that half the work that's Nobel quality makes the cut. You might think it a little unfair that a particular achievement doesn't rate a Nobel just because the comittee doesn't want to recognize bad science by the same guy. But given the number of deserving nominees, excluding somebody from the cut because they're guilty of bad science is not unreasonable.

          When I was writing the above paragraph, I went back and re-read the post that started this thread, so I could refer to the scientific breakthrough the poster thought was Nobel-worthy. He didn't have one. His argument for recognizing Penrose was based on the fact that Penrose was Hawking's mentor and had also written some good popular science books. Significant achievements, but not what they hand out Nobel Physics medals for. Anybody have some more relevant accomplishments to cite?

      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:34PM (#25275185)

        I'm going to have to disagree. I know this sounds trollish, but I'm really not trying to start a flamewar, and I ask that you keep it civil in telling me how wrong I am. Here goes:

        I'm just jumping in here, sorry to crash the party. And I'm only being civil because you're a basketball fan (not really, but nice username anyway).

        Is it going too far to count his unscientific theory against his previous successes? No. Scientific committees need to consider not just the immediate, but also the long-term consequences of giving their endorsement to individuals. While they should give out degrees to people who like to hold unscientific beliefs in their spare time, they should not hold them out as shining examples of "someone doing it right".

        By that reasoning, you'd be stripping Einstein of his prize as well. Had the Prize been around, Isaac Newton would have been excluded with extreme prejudice. Indeed, that line of reasoning would be tantamount to restricting the Prize to athiests.

        There are many scientists who happen to be religious, and it causes many a brilliant scientist degrees of consternation in attempting to reconcile his religion's creation story with his own science. Penrose's attempts seem no different than Einstein's rejection of quantum mechanics because "God does not play dice with the universe".

        While I agree with your analysis of why the null state for any hypothesis should be rejected rather than accepted, I don't think that's sufficient reason to ban Penrose or anyone else from consideration for the Prize. Indeed, I would say that all creeping politicization of the Prize should cease, as it has been all too prevalent lately (assuming it ever was otherwise). In this case, while I personally believe in maintaining a barrier between religion and science, I think the pendulum has swung too far against religion in general - indeed, the anti-religious sentiment is so common in the sciences to pretty much amount to bigotry. I've seen it firsthand, and it's disgusting coming from people who claim to be open-minded. So long as your opinion matches theirs, presumably.

        In other words, let's accept Penrose's religious choices and not hold it against him with regard to his scientific contributions. Anything else would smack of extreme religious intolerance that is not in keeping with the overall ideals of Prize in advancing humanity.

        I do respect your opinion and the civil way in which you've presented it, but I'd strongly urge you to reconsider what you're advocating.

        • by 3p1ph4ny (835701)

          Penrose's attempts seem no different than Einstein's rejection of quantum mechanics because "God does not play dice with the universe".

          Just to be clear when Einstein said this (he really said "I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] does not throw dice.") he did not mean he was religious.

          Einstein rejected QM because it was imprecise. The phrase "does not throw dice" refers to the probabilistic nature of QM. Einstein was convinced that there was an exact way to describe the behavior of the universe, and t

          • yes. Einstein demanded local reality, i.e. that reality is completely deterministic, but Bell's inequality disproves that. Of course, new evidence may force us to overturn quantum theory for a deterministic theory, but so far QM is our best description of reality. If Penrose's reconciliation of his religion and his physics does not cause any contradiction (testable or not), then there is no threat from his religion on his scientific method. Give him the prizes he deserves for his science.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by blueg3 (192743)

            It's not imprecise, it's just nondeterministic.

            The "still haven't" is misleading. Bell's clearly shows that the only possibility for a deterministic mechanism behind quantum mechanics is a system containing nonlocal hidden variables.

            • It's not imprecise, it's just nondeterministic.

              The "still haven't" is misleading. Bell's clearly shows that the only possibility for a deterministic mechanism behind quantum mechanics is a system containing nonlocal hidden variables.

              Right. Bell's theorem gives you a choice between determinism with non-local "extras" and non-determinism (the Copenhagen non-interpretation)

              • by blueg3 (192743)

                Nonlocal hidden variables aren't really "extras" -- the hidden variables would have to be communicating information instantaneously across an arbitrary distance.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          By that reasoning

          A sure sign of an incoming "reductio ad absurdum"

          you'd be stripping Einstein of his prize as well

          Einstein wasn't vocal about religion until after he won his prize.

          Had the Prize been around, Isaac Newton would have been excluded with extreme prejudice. Indeed, that line of reasoning would be tantamount to restricting the Prize to athiests.

          Absurd... he was born in the 17th century during a time when religion was still playing an important role in education.

          Taking our modern standards and applying them to cases in previous centeruies and going "AH HA! SEE IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!" is just retarded. Before the sequencing of DNA, it was still possible to be religious, honest and learned. These days you have to pick only two.

          • by Sique (173459)

            But on the other hand: Newton was very into Alchemy, and did some crazy experimenting which were already considered superstition at the time he did it.

        • Thank you for your reply. But I think we're talking past each other.

          I'm not saying that someone should be excluded from the Nobel Prize because of their religious beliefs. (Note I didn't even mention Penrose's religion or the religious aspects of his theory!) I'm saying they should be excluded when a) they promote that relgious belief *as science*, and do it b) in preference to numerous theories for which there is significantly stronger evidence.

          So it wouldn't exclude Einstein: despite the metaphorical "

          • by pbhj (607776)

            I'm saying, "exclude people from the Nobel Prize who try to promote, as science, very weak theories over numerous more deserving ones."

            I'm hoping that's politician speak for "exclude people from the Nobel Prize who try to promote, as science, falsified theories over numerous unfalsified ones."?

            If not then perhaps you can share your metric for "weak theories" and "deserving ones". If you're a scientist that just minces their words a bit and what you really meant was not "weak" but "wrong" then link to the peer reviewed papers that demonstrate it and just say it's wrong. If it's not wrong it stands a chance at being true ...

            Weak generally m

        • Forget the religious nonsense, answer the only question that should matter; is this man doing science right?

          If his actions are not scientific or anti-science, then it's a problem.

          If his actions are not harming science or causing confusion where there shouldn't be, then it's not.

          If he is in fact advocating a theory because of faith only and not evidence, or intentionally altering his results... that's very bad. However if this guy just looked at the theory, felt it looked correct, and is seeking t
      • by Fanro (130986)

        Scientists should hold themselves to a higher standard than the "principle of Epicurus", i.e. accept all hypotheses not yet falsified. They shoud believe whatever the evidence reveals to have the *highest* probability, not just pick their personal favorite theory that hasn't specifically been ruled out yet.

        They did that quite extensively. Noone has come up with a really satisfactory Theory Of Everything yet, so it is time to broaden the search.

        Whatever the greatness of Penrose's discovery, he threw it all away when he started advocating the quantum gravity theory of uncomputable physics as the basis for creativity. Right or wrong, he's advocating a theory which a) does not have enough evidence to come anywhere close to favoring it over more deserving theories, and b) was chosen so that it would be lots of work to falsify.

        You could say that about pretty much every interpretation of quantum theory. Many worlds, Kopenhagen, etc. All pretty much unverifiably with todays methods. All compatible with existing data. All contradicting common sense in their way.

        Heck, string theory is much worse in that regard, and still I would not like a world where scientists proposing some variant of string t

      • by jlowery (47102)

        By that logic, Linus Pauling should've been stripped of his TWO Nobels after all that hooey about vitamin C preventing colds.

      • While they should give out degrees to people who like to hold unscientific beliefs in their spare time, they should not hold them out as shining examples of "someone doing it right".

        I'm going to have to disagree and say anyone who DOESN'T hold to an unscientific belief in their spare time is not "doing it right."

        For starters, it's their spare time. If they don't have a hobby outside of established scientific doctrines, they need to find one and learn to live. Being a reclusive, obsessive-compulsive shut-in isn't a "shining example" of what growing scientists should yearn to be.

        Also, if they only gave out nobel prizes in physics to the guys who can recite what we already know an

      • by khallow (566160)

        Whatever the greatness of Penrose's discovery, he threw it all away when he started advocating the quantum gravity theory of uncomputable physics as the basis for creativity. Right or wrong, he's advocating a theory which a) does not have enough evidence to come anywhere close to favoring it over more deserving theories, and b) was chosen so that it would be lots of work to falsify.

        He didn't "throw it all away". Such philosophical musings have no repercussion on scientific endeavors nor should they. Is he allowed to have an opinion on politics or the weather, or is that unbecoming of a scientist? My take is that the need for an open and free exchange of ideas outweighs any need for scientific decorum.

        Scientists should hold themselves to a higher standard than the "principle of Epicurus", i.e. accept all hypotheses not yet falsified. They shoud believe whatever the evidence reveals to have the *highest* probability, not just pick their personal favorite theory that hasn't specifically been ruled out yet. To paraphrase Eliezer Yudkowsky, the fact that the map is blurry does not give you the right fill in streets wherever you feel like.

        The problem here is threefold. First, that you don't have a set way to assign probability. A lot of the relevant knowledge is contained inside scientists' skulls. So you will get subjecti

      • by ebuck (585470)

        As another poster already noted: Nobel prizes are for specific discoveries, not a person's reputation since the discovery.

        In another reply mblase mentions Einstein. I'm going to do one better than that and mention Linus Pauling. I say one better, because Linus Pauling won two Nobel prizes, and he might still be the only person to have two Noble prizes to his name. His work laid the foundation for viewing shape as a critical element in determining the effects of molecules in living systems. He also won t

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TapeCutter (624760)
          "Linus Pauling won two Nobel prizes, and he might still be the only person to have two Noble prizes to his name."

          Marie Curie: Physics and Chemistry.
    • Except that the criteron for choosing a Nobel Prize recipient is that they performed research that has been shown to be of great importance within the previous year.
    • Besides quasicrystals, can you name any work by Penrose that has resulted in testable physics?
    • by fm6 (162816)

      This is all good stuff, but it's just basic science and teaching. Nobels in Physics are awarded for specific achievements that have been shown to advance knowledge. (Which is why people get their prizes for stuff they did decades ago.) What's Penrose done that falls under that?

  • Who's getting the peace prize this year?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by onefriedrice (1171917)
      Doesn't matter to me. The whole award means a lot less since even Gore was able to secure one with little but political rhetoric.

      Moderators: I've got karma to burn, but consider that Gore is still a politician who hardly practices what he is preaching. I'm all for preserving Earth, but come on...
      • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:06PM (#25274839) Homepage
        The whole award means a lot less since even Gore was able to secure one with little but political rhetoric.

        The award meant less when Henry Kissinger won it. Gore's actually more deserving than some of the winners in the past few decades; at least he never actively worked against peace.
        • by shakuni (644197) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:19PM (#25277039)

          Nobel prize, at least for peace, has no credibility to almost all Indians, as Mahatma Gandhi the absolute paragon of peace and non-violence in modern history, was never awarded the prize. In all sincerity, it would have honored the prize and not the person, in this case. Indians are generally highly divided about most issues, but, on Mahatma Gandhi's commitment to peace and non-violence, there is almost unanimous agreement. Please note that, there were dissenters who thought non-violence wasnt the best way to attain freedom, but nobody doubted Mahatma's non-violent credentials.

          Nobel prize, like most western institutions, has an enormous western bias and is unable to see beyond the borders of western civilization, for most parts. This is not a complaint, it is just a fact!!

          • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:49PM (#25277361) Homepage
            Nobel prize, like most western institutions, has an enormous western bias and is unable to see beyond the borders of western civilization, for most parts. This is not a complaint, it is just a fact!!

            It is NOT a fact, in fact the opposite is true. The winners in the last 10 years have been:

            4 international organizations,
            2 Americans
            1 Bangladeshi 1 Bandladeshi organization,
            1 Egyptian,
            1 Korean,
            1 Kenyan, 1 Iranian,
            2 Irish (well North Irish),
            1 Ghanan.

            So, out of the 10 individuals who won, only 4 were western.
            • Alright, now my question is that since both of you are right, (Gandhi didn't get the award, and they do give it out to a veriety of people)... why in the hell didn't Gandhi get it?

              That man was the personification of peace... I honestly thought he HAD gotten it.
              • by nomadic (141991)
                There's actually a good explanation here [nobelprize.org].
      • by gnick (1211984) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:08PM (#25274871) Homepage

        Gore? Really? I think that when Arafat [wikipedia.org] got it in '94, it should have been written off all together. Sure the Gore thing was BS, but at least he didn't have such a long-standing history of organizing terrorist attacks against civilians before receiving his Peace Prize.

        Of course, there are a number of legitimate gripes. [wikipedia.org]

        • by truesaer (135079)

          If people want to gripe about Arafat getting it, they might at least not distort what actually happened to make their political point. The award was jointly given to Arafat, Simon Peres, and Yitzak Rabin. The Peace Prize is given typically to a very recent accomplishment so unfortunately by its nature sometimes things that look like they're successful steps toward peace turn out not to be so. Though really they're still trying to implement those agreements, just not very successfully...

          • by gnick (1211984)

            Yes, I neglected to give details on why Arafat (along with Peres and Rabin) were given the award, but I don't think that it makes it any less disgusting. They sat down in Oslo [wikipedia.org] and, for the first time, had a face-to-face negotiation between Israel and the PLO. It was also the first time that the PLO publicly acknowledged Israel's right to exist. They negotiated short-term cease-fires that they hoped would lead to long-term peace. Those are all good things.

            But my take on it is that, even though they did s

            • by Sique (173459)

              The founding fathers of Israel were considered terrorists by the british administration of Palestine. And they in fact did bomb the King David Hotel, a clearly terroristic act. And Menachem Begin, head of the Irgun, the organization responsible for the attact, is... a Peace Nobel Prize Laureat!

              So wherever you look in the Middle East Conflict: Terrorists are everywhere. Blaming it all on Arafat is pretty cheap.

      • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan DOT jared AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:14PM (#25274931)
        Gore got one for peace. He did not receive one for any of the hard sciences. The peace prize has always been subjective and controversial. I'm not real sure why you are upset he used political rhetoric to get one either. Whether or not he met your subjective standards for promoting peace enough to earn a Nobel, rhetoric is an acceptable means to peace, probably the most preferable.

        The ones for physics and such, however are still very much prestigious. You can be sure that it takes a lot of hard scientific work to get one. So beat up on Gore all you want, but leave the scientists alone. (disclaimer: I am not a supporter of Mr. Gore.)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:16PM (#25274969)

        The peace prize is not really affiliated with the natural science prizes. Different committee, different time of year, different style for different reasons.

        The science prizes are given a long time after the fact, for discoveries that has really truly held up. The peace prize is a current thing and often focus on drawing attention to something.

        Some would say that the peace prize gets undue respect from sharing it's name with the science prizes.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Some would say that the peace prize gets undue respect from sharing it's name with the science prizes.

          I thought it was because Nobel himself regarded the Peace Prize as his most important legacy.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          also, different country (Norway)

        • by theodicey (662941) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:01PM (#25278709)

          Some would say that the peace prize gets undue respect from sharing it's name with the science prizes.

          That's rich, considering the peace prize was stipulated in Nobel's will, and the "the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel" (which "some critics" might find more politically agreeable) was designed half a century later to ride on the Nobel coattails.

          science prizes are given a long time after the fact, for discoveries that has really truly held up

          Except for the frontal lobotomy [nobelprize.org]

          Giving out prizes contemporaneously is always risky, it's much easier when history has been written; that's why it took so long to give Luc Montagnier the award.

          The problem with the Economics prize (and to a lesser extent with the Peace prize) is that they're too contemporary.

          For Peace, it's probably inevitable that selection will be driven by current events.

          For Economics, they've just ran out of worthwhile awardees. Perhaps this year they should give it to the EU bank regulators for managing to avoid the destruction of their economy thus far.

      • ...was made sublime when Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. It became downright ethereal when Yasser Arafat received one in 1994.
        • It became downright ethereal when Yasser Arafat received one in 1994.

          Why? He usually tried to find peaceful solutions to problems. Don't confuse Fatah, his organisation, with Hamas or Black September. He was involved in several military actions, yes, but only against other military forces.

          He did a bunch of shady financial dealings, but that's another matter.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        To be fair, that's a Nobel PEACE prize. You normally win that one with talk. The prizes for science are a bit more rigorous.

  • 1993 HBO Movie (Score:4, Informative)

    by bhsx (458600) on Monday October 06, 2008 @12:57PM (#25274729)
    "And the Band Played On" was the title of a movie about the CDC tracking the first breakouts of AIDS in San Francisco and then all around the world. Alan Alda played one of the virologists that just got this nod. He played the American who was out to screw the French lab that was onto the same discovery that this was a hantavirus. Very interesting story with TONS of stars including a "young" Ian McKellen.
    • by bhsx (458600)
      actually, after reading the artcle, perhaps his dickheadery caused him to be left out of the prize; leaving it to Luc's team. let that be a lesson to dickheads everywhere: "you're risking yoiur Nobel there jerk!"
      • Re:1993 HBO Movie (Score:5, Informative)

        by R2.0 (532027) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:18PM (#25274985)

        I did a paper on some of these topics in 1990. In short:
        1) the American scientist was a dickhead
        2) Even at the time of his "discovery", it was suspected that the lab had stolen the sample from the French - I think they settled on "contamination" so that it wouldn't turn into a political incident (this happened at NIH)
        3) The elephant in the room was money - there was a metric fuckton of money to be made for the people to develop a test for HIV that could be applied to the blood supply. The French and the American basically split it.
        4) The American scientist made out like a bandidt - not only did he recieve credit where he shouldn't have, the NIH built him a WHOLE BUILDING to be his sandbox.

        It is some small measure of justice that the Nobel committee awarded the prise thusly. Too bad the people who award the non-scientific prizes have no such measure of judgment.

    • Do you mean retrovirus?

      Hantaviruses and HIV are both RNA viruses but they're different otherwise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaliann (1316559)

      Slight correction:
      HIV is a lentivirus, one of the types of retroviruses. One of the toughest parts of making the link between HIV and AIDS was identifying this virus that could infect a person and then not cause AIDS for years. (Lenti means "slow".) These researchers, politics aside, cracked a very tough problem with tools that would be considered primitive by today's standards.

      The discovery led to greater understanding of lentiviruses in general: we now know that cats (FIV), horses (EIA), cattle (BIV),

  • by Jeanius (1369311)
    What about knocking that gigantic garbage ball out of the sky?
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:06PM (#25274843)

    I'm betting on Fidel Castro for the first peaceful transition in power in Cuba in 40 years.

  • by slashdog (256301) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:09PM (#25274877) Homepage

    In the 80's Robert Gallo was celebrated as the discoverer of HIV and that, oh yeah, maybe

    some French scientists helped too. Turns out Mr. Gallo either intentionally or mistakenly

    (through cross-contamination in a sloppy lab) cultivated a sample of the French-discovered

    strain of the virus. Even after he should have realized a mistake, he misled people and

    caused the United States blood supply to use a much poorer HIV test (than the French one)

    and as a result people needlessly died. His claims of original discovery ultimately fell

    apart because HIV mutates with amazing rapidity, and so his HIV strains were traceable to

    the French one his so closely matched.

    The book "Science Fictions" by John Crewdson is worth your time to read. It's a long read,

    not an easy read, but I got hooked.

    Have you wondered why some less technically talented coworkers are able to influence

    management and, even worse, make you the fall guy when things go wrong? I think this book

    gave me insight into that.

    If Mr. Gallo had only half the talent for science as he did for obfuscation, he would've

    been a great scientist indeed.

    • Gallo! Thanks for the name - I did a whole paper on that ass in 1990 and couldn't remember the name.

      "If Mr. Gallo had only half the talent for science as he did for obfuscation, he would've been a great scientist indeed."

      Don't worry too much about Gallo's fate - the NIH built him a whole new building to house his little empire.

    • Have you wondered why some less technically talented coworkers are able to influence
      management and, even worse, make you the fall guy when things go wrong? I think this book
      gave me insight into that.

      Because they are (corporate) psychopaths, and therefore very persuasive when lying, apt at manipulation and very charismatic.

  • Roger Penrose just happened to discover a phenomenon that has the same name as he does? Wow. What are the odds?
  • by Wdi (142463)

    The 1996 Nobel prize was already given for the discovery of Buckyballs. Graphene is the same field (so the general area is already covered), and not really a surprize. It is just a monolayer of graphite. Preparing it and measuring its properties is (highly interesting) engineering, but not groundbreaking science.

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:24PM (#25275051) Homepage

    Come on, they've discovered hugely dangerous things through their "scientific" discoveries. HIV and HCV kill millions of people every year and these people are being praised for discovering them. Much like the lauded Newton who discovered gravity which has led to millions of deaths through falling and having heavy things land on people it is typical of the scientific community to reward these people who discover things that only give harm to people. These claims of "evolving" viruses are really just more proof that scientists are waging a war against normal people.

    Only the other day I was hearing that scientists were poisoning our children by suggesting that di-Hydrogen Monoxide should be drunk instead of Sunny Delight, its appalling what we let these scientists get away with.

    Brought to you by the people who think that Evolution is a scientific conspiracy.

  • please announce the nobel for economics this year, so we can tar and feather him, and set him afire as he protests that its like blaming the weatherman for a bad hurricane

    maybe then the gods will be happy and we can get free houses and credit cards again

  • Although dark phlogiston actually increases the mass of combustible residua by leaving behind oxidized molecules, just as the so-called "Lavoisier Combustion Theory" predicts, just not as much, until the LHC it was impossible to determine that the mass gained actually exceeds the contribution of oxygen less light pressure by a significant delta, leading to the darkly immaterial conclusion that mentioning Schödinger's Cat without actually examining it requires it to be simultaneously alive or dead in wh
  • Alex Wolszczan [wikipedia.org] and Dale Frail [wikipedia.org] for the first confirmed discovery of an extrasolar planet [nature.com].
    • That's a significant discovery, but doesn't really do much to broaden our understanding of the way the universe works. All they did was verify that other suns have planets too — something that's been widely accepted for centuries. Compare that with the following recent awards:

      • "for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics, which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature"
      • "for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance"
      • "for their dis

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