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Nobel Jurors Facing Bribery Probe 74

RockDoctor writes "A report is circulating that in the run-up to the selection of prize-winners for 2006 and 2008, some members of the Nobel jury accepted an expenses-paid trip (or trips) to China to 'explain the selection process.' That's not, in itself, an incriminating event ('Is there something that we're doing incorrectly, or not doing?' is a valid question), and if there was dishonorable intent, it doesn't seem to have worked too well (the last Chinese Nobel Laureate was in 1957). There does seem to be embarrassment about falling into an obvious conflict-of-interest mantrap." PhysOrg mentions that a corruption prosecutor is also looking into a Nobel-related sponsorship from a pharmaceutical company that was linked to one of the winners for this year's Medicine prize.
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Nobel Jurors Facing Bribery Probe

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  • Re:Nothing new (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vuo ( 156163 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @06:41AM (#26182795) Homepage
    True. It has always been a public secret that getting a Nobel prize is all about the connections, knowing the right people. You can't get enough publicity to your work otherwise, and without that, no chance.
  • Bah! Humbug. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redelm ( 54142 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @07:25AM (#26182941) Homepage

    Modern "Portfolio" Theory has received at least three Nobels. [ft.com] Yet MPT has lead directly and predictably (no fat tails) to the financial crisis.

    I'm very unimpressed and becoming highly cynical on what passes for "accepted science." There seems to be a strengthening political element. Quite obvious in the case of Global Warming.

  • Re:Bah! Humbug. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @07:56AM (#26183061)

    Please note that economics is not a real Nobel Prize- it's an award that the bank which runs the Nobel fund decided to start giving out, and named it similarly. Probably due to fragile egos about not being real scientists.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:06AM (#26183099) Journal

    Did somebody buy his award, or was the committee having a joke like when they gave awards to Kissinger and Arafat?


  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @10:32AM (#26183573)

    The last people we'd expect bribery and government corruption from is China, right? /sarcasm

    But... who better to explain how to win a Nobel prize than members of the Nobel selection committee? Obviously, this could be misconstrued as a conflict of interest, but this sounds more like information gathering than anything all that nefarious.

    China's government is obviously interested in stepping up it's cultural and political clout in the world. That's what hosting the Olympics are all about for them (and Government sponsorship of athletes ensures they take home more medals than anyone else). The Nobel prizes are very prestigious, and naturally China would like to claim this prestige for its own, and are interested in finding out how they can maximize their chances for winning a prize.

    I doubt it's anything more than some bad judgment, but I guess we'll see.

  • Re:Bah! Humbug. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:25AM (#26183801)

    A hint: the place where you went wrong is the bit where you started thinking about Economics as a "science".

    Things will start making a great deal more sense when you chuck it back into the "philosophy with practitioners who like to throw math around because it makes them feel rigorous" category.

  • Re:Bah! Humbug. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sapphon ( 214287 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @12:12PM (#26184073) Journal

    Probably due to fragile egos about not being real scientists.

    Yeah, because "Peace" and "Literature" are both much more scientific than Economics. It also doesn't seem to bother the judges from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who choose the winners in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, and.. err.. Economics. How about that.

  • by bussdriver ( 620565 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @01:49PM (#26184769)

    AWARDS ARE SYMBOLIC PROMOTIONS of industries, careers, and/or ideals.

    NOBEL is more important now more than ever; corrupt or not, we live in an age that idolizes karaoke singers, sports people, actors, and war heroes. Science types complain that we need science to be "cool" and well, this is about all we get.

    If you want a wider reaching better award you should look at the "Alternative Nobel" http://www.rightlivelihood.org./ [www.rightlivelihood.org] This award promotes the important yet unrecognized causes without restriction to a few sciences; which arguably are the least important factor to bringing peace to mankind (ex: "The Apple Orange Award".)

    I wonder if children ever learn the purpose of scholastic achievement awards? It seems the same psychology works on adults. Different package, same trick. If that doesn't blow your mind, start applying the aspects of this to academia, political offices, or cultural rituals like marriage.

    Doesn't matter if some baseball cheater gets in the hall of fame; outside the fanatics, nobody will remember or care except for the few stand outs on the long list of award winners. The symbolic meaning will be maintained and carried on by continually hyping up the new award winners. Sure, too many bad winners hurt the symbol but it takes a lot and people forget quickly...

    Parent misses the all the points including his ad-hom attack on Jimmy Carter.

  • So wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:12PM (#26185839)
    Jimmy Carter does not hate Israel. Instead he is simply trying to understand the root of the problem by talking to BOTH sides. Its a really novel concept for most people who seem so involved in what is really a mutual fuck-up. If the world had more people like that this conflict would have been solved years ago. Instead the world is full of people who think like you do- that one side is morally better.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!