A Century of Nobel Prizes Recipients: Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine

A Century of Nobel Prizes Recipients: Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine

A Century of Nobel Prizes Recipients: Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine

A Century of Nobel Prizes Recipients: Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine

Synopsis

Celebrating a century of revolutionary contributions to our understanding of life, the world, and the universe, this encyclopedic desk reference traces the discoveries that earned nearly 500 distinguished scientists Nobel honors in the areas of chemistry, physics, and medicine. This book includes over 550 full color illustrations and photographs, and, set out in itsnbsp;appealing andnbsp;easy-to-use format, it is a must for the library of any public, university, business, or personal library.

Excerpt

There can be no doubt that the prestige associated with the Nobel Prize has been a driving force in the extraordinary advances in science throughout the course of the 20th century. The Nobel Foundation has given awards to no fewer than 450 scientists, men and women whose stories have assimilated themselves into the public consciousness along with their discoveries and inventions. In the beginning, the three "hard sciences"-chemistry, physics, and medicine-were clearly separated, but were later found to overlap frequently, physics often being the source of concepts and equipment that enabled progress in chemistry and medicine. Was not the first Nobel winner in physics, Wilhelm Röntgen, with his discovery of X rays, already on the brink of major therapeutic applications? And have not the radioactive elements that won the Nobel Prize in physics for Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie been used mainly in chemistry, especially cellular chemistry, allowing us to follow the successive steps of fundamental life processes such as photosynthesis or the Krebs cycle? The attribution of the Nobel Prize also brings to light a social effect that cannot be neglected: the advent of teamwork. It has become rare indeed for the prize to be awarded to one individual. On the contrary, it is increasingly common for two or even three researchers to be cited each year, regardless of the discipline. This corresponds to the interdisciplinary developments among the three aforementioned fields as well as the passion provoked by the extraordinary power of investigation of the scientific method.

The humanistic value of scientific research is tightly linked to man's use of its applications. History has amply demonstrated that the latter can bring a better state of being to society and the public health, for example, the telecommunications industry. We have been great beneficiaries of scientific research and without a doubt it will contribute further in the future. But progress also allowed for the increased destructive power of weapons. Moreover, it enabled us to take advantage of certain discoveries to create applications-for example, the application of genetic ingenuity to human cloning, as well as to modern electronic diffusion-that pose real ethical

If the Committee charged with awarding the Nobel Prize recognizes fundamental research first of all, it is therefore important that it weigh all its authority with states and institutions to promote the adoption of control systems to prevent the work and research of numerous scientists, in particular those implicated in fundamental research, from being used in ways counter to the benefit of mankind.

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