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The three hard science Nobel Prizes — Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine/Physiology — have been impressively resistant to the demands of the cult of diversity. Women have made up only 20 of the 607 winners, and I don’t believe there’s ever been a black winner in the hard sciences.

But all good things must come to an end. From Nature:

‘More women are being nominated’: Nobel academy head discusses diversity

04 OCTOBER 2019
Ahead of this year’s award announcements, Göran Hansson speaks about measures to address the imbalance in gender and ethnicity among winners.
by Elizabeth Gibney

Next week, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will award the first Nobel prizes in chemistry and physics after making tweaks to its nomination procedure to diversify the pool of potential winners.

The academy acknowledged last year that women and scientists from some ethnic groups are under-represented among Nobel laureates. Wins in 2018 for Donna Strickland in physics and Frances Arnold in chemistry were welcomed, but did little to move the needle (see ‘Nobel imbalance’).

The organization introduced measures that it hoped would tackle the issue by encouraging scientists to put forward a more diverse range of nominees. These included asking more women to suggest candidates, and altering the wording of the letter inviting nominations. The new language explicitly asks nominators to consider diversity in gender, geography and topic, as well as to nominate more than one discovery.

Nature spoke to the academy’s secretary-general, biomedical scientist Göran Hansson, to see what impact the measures have had.

Did the changes you introduced to the letter make a difference?

We’ve gone through the nominations and although I cannot give you any exact figures, it looks like there is a positive trend, with more women being nominated. It’s small, but it’s a trend. We will follow this very carefully for several years to see if there is statistical significance before we draw any firm conclusions. But it looks like we may be on the right track. With time, there will also be a gradual change in the population of scientists who are potential candidates, so that will help too.

Did increasing the proportion of women among the nominators help?

That did not seem to have any impact, unfortunately. Women are no more likely to nominate women than men are, that’s the conclusion. That’s something we will follow up, but that’s how it looks at the moment.

In other words, they asked a bunch of distinguished women scientists to nominate Nobel Laureates and the women scientists came up with the same gender gap in achievement as the distinguished men scientists. It’s almost as if real scientists, male and female, often don’t actually believe what the Angela Saini-type journalists tell them about scientists.

… Are you trying to boost diversity beyond gender?
Yes. In the nomination letter we also mentioned ethnicity. We cannot say yet whether it has had any effect, because we started by evaluating gender. But even before we changed the nomination letter, one of the countries that had increased its number of Nobel laureates the most was Japan. So that augurs against any bias towards what the Americans call Caucasians. We see enormous investments in science now in East Asia, and we see more people from East Asia being nominated than ever before. So long-term, I’m sure that will pay off.

But we have a balance to strike here. Alfred Nobel explicitly stated that we should not consider nationality when we award the prize. He wrote in his will that the most worthy individual shall receive the prize, irrespective of whether they are Scandinavian or not. So we will never introduce quotas for nations, ethnicity or, for that matter, gender.

As the Supreme Court ruled in the 1978 Bakke decision: Quotas are unconstitutional. Goals, however, are swell.

But, in new news, the Nobel folks just gave the Medicine prize to 3 white dudes:

White men continue to oppress women and people of color by making major scientific discoveries with profound implications for improving health.

#NobelsSoWhite

 
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  1. Even if tomorrow they started giving all the prizes to women and minorities, it would be another century before the imbalance was redressed (and maybe a millenium, if we go by actual world demographics).

    Well, social justice can’t wait that long. What we need to do is rewrite the past. Go through all past Nobel Laureates and strip the prize from everyone who can plausibly (and implausibly) be shown to have uttered something problematic. Then retroactively transfer his prize to a deserving diverse person like George Washington Carver.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • LOL: jim jones
  2. Do real scientists agree that the typical Nobel winner really deserves it? Is there a real consensus? To an outsider, the reports always seem like real science, but I always imagine that there are other people left steaming and ranting to their wives about how so-and-so is an ass kisser or how they would have won if they had gone to the barbecue at so-and-so’s house. Like parents on the sidelines of sporting events bitching about how their kid should be the shortstop or quarterback.

  3. The nominations for the Nobel Prize are made public after about fifty years, and the nominations until the mid-1960s can easily be searched. Unless the process for nominations is now much more structured, it appears to me that the nominations can be gamed, if a sufficient number of eminent nominators start deciding for instance, that more women should be nominated.

    The home page for the nominations database highlights the fact that the woman physicist. Lise Meitner, was nominated 48 times, but never won. I’ve seen other mentions of Lise Meitner during Nobel season in recent years, and I expect that at some point soon, the dam will break, and that either the rules will be changed, or people will be shamed into stuffing the nominations pipeline with more “diverse” candidates.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/redirector/?redir=archive/

    PS: In fairness to Meitner, she probably should have gotten the prize at some point. Several of her nominators were titantic figures in science.

  4. @william munny

    From what I know- they do. True, there are people who didn’t get it because of politics (Pascual Jordan) or other reasons (Theodore Maiman, Albert Schatz, Freeman Dyson, Mme Wu, ..). Also, “great questers” as a rule don’t get a Nobel (John Stewart Bell, J. Archibald Wheeler, ..).

    Just, most science Nobelists truly deserve it- especially the Japanese, who wait for decades (perhaps because Japanese live too long, Swedish Academy is not in a hurry to award them…).

    As for females, this is simple: roughly, men create culture/civilization & women create life. Women will never be as prominent in sciences as men are; but, without them, there is no human life, no men, no civilization- no nothing.

    • Replies: @Amerimutt Golems
  5. Avery says:
    @william munny

    {Do real scientists agree that the typical Nobel winner really deserves it? Is there a real consensus?}

    I would imagine not always.

    Case in point: who invented the MRI and who got the Noble Prize for it?
    Raymond Damadian invented/developed the MRI, but he never got the deserved Nobel prize for it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Damadian

    It was/is believed by many that Damadian was denied the Nobel, because….he was a Christian believer in creationism, ….he was of Armenian descent (…the ‘wrong’ ethnicity),……

    • Replies: @nurdle
    , @Romanian
  6. SafeNow says:

    CPR should be administered at 100 chest compressions per minute. When CPR is taught, the song Stayin’ Alive is used, as it has 100 beats per minute, and is easy to remember and reproduce. (Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin alive, stayin’ alive). This has saved countless lives. As Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, I hereby nominate The Bee Gees for the Prize in Medicine.

  7. Anon 2 says:

    It’s interesting how the brief Wikipedia pages for the three Americans who won
    the Nobel Prize in Medicine contain virtually no personal details about their
    lives whereas the Wikipedia entry for, say, Britney Spears spends pages and
    pages on all the drama of her recording career, her personal life, and, of course,
    countless details about her records. And she is only 37.

  8. @SafeNow

    Hard for me to argue against.

  9. Beyonce should get into physics – she’d have 22 Nobel Prizes in 10 years.

  10. Hodag says:

    I would love to see the drama if Dr. John Ionnidis gets the Nobel Prize in medicine. It would be the most important Nobel that I can recall but so many people hate him.

  11. @william munny

    william munny asked:

    Do real scientists agree that the typical Nobel winner really deserves it? Is there a real consensus? To an outsider, the reports always seem like real science, but I always imagine that there are other people left steaming and ranting to their wives about how so-and-so is an ass kisser or how they would have won if they had gone to the barbecue at so-and-so’s house.

    My thesis advisor at Stanford told me that the consensus was that Mel Schwartz, then one of his own colleagues at Stanford (!), did not deserve the Prize. Same thing for Emilio Segre for discovering the antiproton (my advisor claimed that anyone having dibs on the Bevatron could have done it).

    And, I myself have always thought that Lise Meitner should have shared the Prize with Hahn and Strassmann, (And, no, I do not care that Meitner was a female.)

    On the other hand, all of the Nobelists I have studied under or worked for — Feynman, Steve Weinberg, Kip Thorne, Burt Richter, and Marty Perl — did, in my judgment deserve the Prize, and in those five cases, obviously, I have a good deal of personal knowledge about their work.

    By the way, in my experience Nobelists tend to be reasonably bright but, above all, very hard workers and very persistent. They also seem to be more decent human beings than the average physicist, maybe because when you are that good you don’t need to be a jerk or maybe because they really do care about the physics more than politicking.

    I’m not saying the Nobelists weren’t Aspergery (they’re physicists!), but there is such a thing as Aspergery but decent.

    I once had a chance to chat with Luis Alvarex (hey, a NAM!) who struck me as a truly decent (and rather normal) human being as well as being brilliant. I also heard one of the earliest talks Luis gave on the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs — best scientific talk I ever heard. The talk just blew all of us (physicists and physics grad students) away: we were sure he and his colleagues had nailed it. As it seems they did.

  12. Sean says:

    Ilana Mercer is a (the only) female author at The Unz Review. Political correctness gone mad.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  13. IHTG says:

    Paleoconservatism unleashed:

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  14. Sean says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Sounds rather like the Oscars. Feynman’s predilection for other men’s wives would have been likely to get him shot if his less brilliant colleagues and grad students were not a bit too decent.

    • Replies: @eric
  15. @Anon 2

    It is often forgotten that Britney Spears is an expert in semiconductor physics.

    http://britneyspears.ac/lasers.htm

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  16. Altai says:

    Okay, the Nobel prizes in the hard sciences have traditionally been given a long time (Often decades) after the initial work due to the need to have the importance and value of it validated through it’s long-term impact on the field and also because there is a backlog of worthy recipients from times when the total number of scientists was lower and many fields were still quite novel, leading to more individual targets for accolades.

    If we assume the average age of a Nobel winner, surely we have to factor in the gender/ethnic makeup of prominent scientists in that age group and not as a whole or in younger cohorts?

    Ultimately I can’t see this working, there is a backlog of worthy recipients and everytime they give a prize to a ‘diverse’ candidate, everyone will be looking over that backlog. Fortunately the dead aren’t eligible, so theoretically it’s a problem that eventually solves itself.

    But since for economic as much as any other reason only certain parts of the world are host to the main research centres of the world, how can you ever really address the ethnic aspect to anyone’s satisfaction?

  17. anon[331] • Disclaimer says:

    Check out the responses to the tweet. It’s mostly outraged bugmen bemoaning yet more white people winning things, and thots screeching about how talented they are, and how unjust it is that no one recognizes their talent because 3 white dudes stole their work.

    And sprinkled throughout are brown dudes who are giddy because they got to work in the labs of these 3 Nobel winners.

    Congratulations to you all . . . My PhD thesis was enriched with your great works . . .— Ismaeel Bin-Jaliah (إسماعيل بن جالية) (@isbinjaliah) October 7, 2019

  18. lhtness says:

    I recall that they’ve been doing this for some time now, and it was pretty obvious that the women in 2018 were affirmative action winners. (Most likely, they chose teams that had at least one woman on them.)

  19. These awards are good because of- money. Just, they don’t matter as implied, either as status marks among peers (good thing, but not as central as many may think) or as one’s place in popular imagination or wider culture.

    Then, it is impossible to “measure” contributions to various scientific fields, because, say, “mind” of a mathematician functions differently from the mind of a life-sciences researcher. I’ve always found it easy to ascribe the status of genius to great mathematicians (Poincare, Hilbert, Weyl, Grothendieck, …), while I don’t see such gifts in Koch, Behring, Salk, Watson, Crick,…

    Needless to say, bio-bunch has changed our lives infinitely more.

    Ask an informed layman- which post- WW2 Nobelists for sciences he’s heard of? I guess it would be max 3-7 names, virtually all physicists.

  20. TWS says:

    It’s clearly the fault of the white man that important work in folk medicine and voodoo go unappreciated.

  21. Ano says:

    Three white men??
    This has to stop.
    The Nobel committee should be giving prizes for medicine to traditional healers: witchdoctors, juju men, medicine (wo)men, and voodoo priestesses, etc, etc.

    Future committee members: Rachel (what’s with the Dude Wall) Maddow and Amy Harmon.

    Future prize-winners:

    The African soccer team witchdoctors who cast spells on the opposing team.
    The African ju-ju man who rubs cow dung on the top of the patient’s shaven head to cure headache.
    The East-Coast lesbian Wicca witches who successfully hexed Trump into giving up the presidency to Hillary- and thus cured TDS.

    Finally, I want the Democrat’s Medicare-for-all plans to fully cover the cannibalisation* of Albinos for the magic properties of their body parts.

    *Dear iSteve Moderator. I trust you can see I’m not serious (or is AOC your moderator?).

  22. Everything possible should be done to bypass White female scientists in favour of all those unrecognized black female scientists.

    Privilege has no place in science.

  23. The girls probably think Einstein got his Nobel mostly because he was popular and had cute hair.

    They’re popular too! What about *their* hair?!

  24. @william munny

    Fred Hoyle should have had the prize for his work with Fowler and the Burbidges on stellar nucleosynthesis, a concept Hoyle had pioneered as far back as 1946 which explained how heavy elements could be produced in stars.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle#Origin_of_nucleosynthesis

    Fowler and Chandrasekhar got the Nobel in 1983 (“for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe” – sounds like stellar nucleosynthesis to me), by which time Hoyle was an unperson for advocating the steady state theory (he coined the phrase ‘Big Bang’), panspermia and other unfashionable theories, and for rowing with too many influential people (he said publicly that Jocelyn Bell as well as Hewish should have got the prize for quasars) .

  25. BB753 says:

    I predict more middle-aged male scientists will have to come out as transexuals and proud and brave women to meet the quotas.

  26. Why do we still call them Nobel prizes anyway. Isn’t Nobel a dead White guy who helped oppress the teeming masses with the invention of dynamite? Shouldn’t he get the Cecil Rhodes treatment? I mean, we should still hand out the awards and the large cash prizes that accompany them to deserving women and minorities, but they should not be subjected to the pain of having them linked to his name and legacy, and we need to pull down any statues of him while we’re at it.

    • Replies: @Duke84
  27. istevefan says:

    According to Steve’s observation on the Oscars, once you give an award to a black nominee, blacks think they are entitled to it annually. The Nobel committee better take this into account.

  28. @SafeNow

    Hmmm… I would have though the Theme from Jeopardy would be good, but I guess it’s too fast.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  29. Wilkey says:

    Nobel Prize in Biology, 2020: T’Aniqua Jkente Jones, for her discovery of the protein that makes black hair curly.

    Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2020: D’Shante J’America X, for her discovery of a less toxic black hair straightener.

    Nobel Prize in Physics, 2020: Ka-Marshiquis Julius Wilson, for his study calculating the drag coefficient of Julius Erving’s Afro.

    Nobel Prize in Economics, 2020: JaaQuellin Marshevius Weinstein, for their study documenting the economic contributions of the hair-straightening industry to Oktibbeha COunty, Mississippi.

    Nobel Prize in Literature, 2020: Carolivia Herron, for her immense contributions to Afro-juvenile literature, as demonstrated by her landmark book Nappy Hair.

    Nobel Peace Prize, 2020: to Not-Yet President Elect Kamala Harris, for reasons we’ll pull out of our asses eventually.

  30. KL says:

    Elinor Ostrom is the only woman to win the economics prize, along with 70+ men.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Altai
  31. Isn’t the Nobel for theoretical discoveries, rather than the engineering that makes them useful?

    • Replies: @Eternally Antifascist
  32. eric says:
    @Sean

    So, someone who has a couple of affairs is just like Harvey Weinstein?

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
  33. Wilkey says:
    @Anon 2

    It’s Wikipedia, not the Encyclopedia Britannica. Hell, it has pages for individual episodes of “The Simpsons.”

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Anon 2
    , @Known Fact
    , @Dumbo
  34. Ibound1 says:

    The really horrible outcome anyway is not in Nobel prizes but in actually practiced medicine.

    Medical schools already have tremendously different admission standards for the diverse and non-diverse under the reasoning that “medical outcomes improve” when diverse sees diverse, blah blah blah. And this is before Dot Indians take over the admissions game and skew to their relatives. And women do not put in the hours practicing medicine that men do – they simply don’t.

    Medical care itself is going to start to get drastically worse and the Nobels will be the least of our worries.

  35. El Dato says:
    @Anon 2

    That’s how “pop songstresses” work. They ARE the detail. That page IS Britney Spears.

  36. nurdle says:
    @Avery

    I work in magnetic resonance and I remember when this happened. Damadian’s initial concept for MRI lacked the details that allow the idea to work. The man is a whiner.

  37. theMann says:

    If you want to know more about what kind of people Physicists are, Google Einstein Plagiarism to start with. I believe Feynman has already been mentioned. The Nobel Prize comes with a considerable cash component, shockingly, even scientists will lie, cheat, and steal over money.

    In any case, all the Nobel Committee is really going to achieve is to light up how little non-Whites have achieved adding to the sum of human knowledge since the awards began. The inability of the Woke Buffoons to have any capacity for self-reflection has some hilarious consequences.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  38. @International Jew

    Well, social justice can’t wait that long. What we need to do is rewrite the past. Go through all past Nobel Laureates and strip the prize from everyone who can plausibly (and implausibly) be shown to have uttered something problematic. Then retroactively transfer his prize to a deserving diverse person like George Washington Carver.

    I don’t think that’s necessary. In our Minitru times we can retrospectively transition various individuals. We can create an army of Caitlyns so to speak. Hendrick Lorentz can be Henrietta Lorenz, Max Planck, Maxine Planck etc. With photoshop we can make them “beautiful” in a few minutes and voila!

  39. Abe says:

    But, in new news, the Nobel folks just gave the Medicine prize to 3 white dudes

    Mr. Nobel, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, if you seek diversity, come here to this gate. Mr. Nobel, open this gate. Mr. Nobel, tear down this dude wall!

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  40. Mr. Anon says:

    It would be better for the Nobel Committee to change the rules of the Prize, and give awards to the deserving deceased, like Lise Meitner and Emmi Noether, than lowering their standards.

  41. Sean says:
    @eric

    Weinstein is going to be tried for rape, not affairs. With Feynman the unwritten law would be more relevant. He obviously was careful not to try anything with the wives of men who would abide by it. Or maybe it’s just that no one with an IQ over 130 is that bothered. In less rarefied circles I dare say quite a few ‘accidental’ shooting deaths must have been caused by husbands deliberately returning home unexpected, not turning on the lights and ‘mistaking’ a male visitor for a burglar in the dark.

    Did Weinstein mess with another man’s wife? My impression is they were all single women. There are actresses who though stunning beauties were without even any stage experience when Weinstein put them in major films, and they became stars and haven’t complained about him.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  42. Sean says:
    @Wilkey

    Including the one in which Donald Trump had become President

  43. Romanian says: • Website

    I am sure Semenza’s ancestors were not considered White and were rudely treated by the WASPs.

    Just like poor Pete Buttigieg’s Maltese dad or, for the beauty lovers out there, Australian actress Samara Weaving’s Maltese mom (who will star in the new Bill and Ted movie).

    • Troll: Herbert West
  44. @SafeNow

    CPR isn’t that effective. If you’re in the hospital, better off signing a DNR. If you’re outside, better hope there’s an AED nearby.

    http://www.j-circ.or.jp/cpr/e-index.html

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    , @SafeNow
    , @Nico
  45. Anon 2 says:
    @Wilkey

    True. But still I’d say today’s Nobelists have the shortest Wikipedia pages
    in recent memory, i.e., compared to the previous Nobelists in the hard sciences.
    It’s as if they never did anything notable that would attract the media’s
    attention. It’s sad but they’ll never be as famous or (probably) as rich
    as Britney Spears or countless other vocalists.

    Philip Greenspun, a blogger associated with Harvard, wrote a fascinating (and
    infamous) column, called “Women in Science” in which he argued that
    highly intelligent women are too smart to go into science, and that’s why
    they are underrepresented at the Ph.D. level. They know that the rewards
    of doing research are not what they used to be, say, 50 years ago. I agree,
    and that’s why I argued on this blog a few years ago that, unless you are
    a genius, you should leave science research to those who have fewer choices
    in life, that is foreigners and such. Go into robotics, AI, or work as
    a quant in finance, just to mention a few other options.

  46. @Wilkey

    That must have took some pretty good keyboard work to pull off. Great work on the names.
    I can only imagine but I’m certain this is exactly what the names will look like in less than 50 years.
    There is romors that cerrtain letters in the alphabet may be removed in the near future so i wonder how that will play out in the Campbell’s Alphabet Soup Black Name game.

  47. JimB says:

    As I’ve suggested, append Oscar movie categories to the Nobel Prize. Best Actor Nobel, Best Screenwriter Nobel, Best Foley Nobel, Best Boy Nobel,…

  48. Over the years I have been an avid fan of the Science Channel on cable, thus I cannot help but notice how the numbers of women and so-called People of Color have proliferated as commentators over the years. What their qualifications are I don’t know. They’ve still retained the likes of that irritating Lawrence Krauss but appear to have ditched the equally knowledgeable but far more appealing Alex Filippenko.

    Now outer space belongs to the SJWs!

  49. @Wilkey

    Someone also has done a remarkably detailed page on Hooterville, the fictional town in Green Acres and Petticoat Junction

  50. White men continue to oppress women and people of color by making major scientific discoveries with profound implications for improving health.

    That kind of sounds like trolling.

    I would not consider medicine to be one of the hard sciences. There is far too much reliance on easily manipulated statistics and gamed studies. Most of what the field thinks it knows at any given time turns out to be wrong 30 years later. And pretty much all of the truly significant drugs, vaccines, and medical techniques were discovered long ago.

    Medicine has plateaued. Not because of any lack of effort, but because there really aren’t any more advances that can be made and are cost effective. It’s one thing to synthesize an analgesic in the 1930s and patent a process for its manufacture; it’s a totally different thing to spend decades and tens of billions of dollars trying to cure a cancer that affects a few thousand people per year. Medicine (and computer science) are running up against some pretty severe diminishing returns right now. It will be interesting to see how society adjusts to this going forward.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    , @Anon 2
  51. They can diversify the science awards all they want — but they cannot evade the fact that even the most brilliant and diverse scientist is working in a theoretical framework and physical institution built by white males.

  52. Bill H says: • Website

    So, equality of outcome has reached the Nobels now. Wonderful. I can see it now.

    “Gentlemen, we must find another woman and at least two more persons of color to receive Nobels, or there will be no awards this year. Keep looking.”

  53. Now they can give the Prize to women,

    “for their discoveries of how women sense and adapt to Nobel Prize availability.”

  54. @International Jew

    Goodbye, James Watson; hello, Rosalind Franklin.

  55. @Sean

    As someone who hasn’t paid any attention to Feynman’s erotic life & have only cursorily read a few short pieces on it, I think:

    * Feynman was, it seems, a devoted husband who led a promiscuous life only when he was single (or during his 2nd marriage). Otherwise, he was an ordinary family man

    * among most physicists & mathematicians, he stands out as one of the very few who had more-than-dull erotic life, others being Hermann Weyl & Schroedinger. Others, married or not, did not care too much for this aspect of life (it goes for most 20th C scientists). A real sex machine was that Communist Irishman who worked in Britain during & after WW 2 & who slept with everything with a cavity, including his assistant who got Nobel- J.D.Bernal.

    * Feynman’s promiscuous period seems to me morally unacceptable. But: a) he was not a “sexist”; he was just having consensual affairs & hookups. b) I don’t find anything “criminal” about it, only something distasteful (not about his visits to strip clubs, but his affairs with colleagues’ wives). But, no one forced those women; he did not humiliate, blackmail, … those females. These had been their life-choices.

    Feynman was not a great moral exemplar re his erotic life. But then, he is portrayed as almost a monster, which is absurdity.

    • Replies: @Sean
  56. El Dato says:
    @PhysicistDave

    On the other hand, all of the Nobelists I have studied under or worked for — Feynman, Steve Weinberg, Kip Thorne, Burt Richter, and Marty Perl — did, in my judgment deserve the Prize, and in those five cases, obviously, I have a good deal of personal knowledge about their work.

    WHO ARE YOU, Physicist Dave?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  57. @Romanian

    Nobel Prizes are like Oscars, in the sense that there are not enough to go around for all the good work being done. Plenty of good movies and movie makers don’t receive Academy Awards, and lots and lots of scientists do important work and never receive Nobels.

    Now the science Nobels are at risk of becoming as silly as the Oscars.

    (Furthermore, there are all kinds of contributions to humanity, knowledge, art, and all around arete that don’t even have award categories or prize organizations. Awards always threaten to convince dumb people that those other works don’t matter as much. How stupid. Creating big, famous, prestigious awards for engineering would be a good place to start correcting this, just for one example.)

  58. Come to think of it #NobelsSoWhite would be like the ultimate racialist humblebrag.

    Another thought: Rate of fundamental scientific discoveries seems to be plummeting (like during Classical to Hellenistic transition in Greece). With fewer unambiguous breakthroughs being made, it should become easier to increase political component of Nobel Prize distribution.

    • Replies: @gcochran
  59. Dumbo says:
    @Wilkey

    It’s kinda sad that Wikipedia became the standard of “knowledge” during our age, and in some cases, the only source of information about most things.

    It’s not only very inaccurate, but also in most cases extremely poorly written.

    I grew up with a collection of old-style Encyclopedia Britannica, but most people never had that and all they know is Wikipedia.

  60. Joe Sweet says:

    Affirmative Action came to the Nobel Prizes at least as far back as when Obama got his, apperently for being elected US President while possessing some African DNA.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  61. glib says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Segre’ got it as compensation for the fact that he got shafted in the Seaborg Nobel prize (Chemistry). Why did they give it to Chamberlain too is a mystery. Anyway, the real work was done by italian Piccioni and student Tom Ypsilantis. Piccioni sued, and he must have been bitter, because he got shafted for the Conversi Pacini Piccioni experiment as well, an incredibly heroic tour de force in occupied Rome. Tom himself was bitter decades later.

    Other italians (two of them jews, one of them italian by adoption) shafted multiple times include Occhialini, a known communist, who did all the work of the Chadwick and Powell prizes; Pontecorvo, also a commie, who initiated work in 3 areas of neutrino experimentation, resulting in 4 Nobel prizes;
    and Touschek, who invented and developed the most successful instrument in particle physics, electron-positron colliders. Compared to other instrumentation Nobels (Charpak, Powell, Glaser) he dwarfs them.

    Then there is Cabibbo, a co-creator of the CKM matrix. K and M got their Nobel, but not Cabibbo. Granted, he was connected to the Vatican, a fact that was probably not liked in Uppsala.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  62. Old Prude says:
    @william munny

    My brother is still steamed that “Trainer of the Year” was awarded to another officer at the Navy’s nuclear school because that officer had organized a children’s birthday party for the base commander’s wife.

    I’m still steamed because I wasn’t voted “Class Morale Officer” in flight school. Even though I told the best jokes, apparently most people thought I was an arrogant a**hole.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  63. Once you accept that race and gender are social constructs, it should be relatively easy to obtain “diversity” by just socially reconstructing the categories.

    For example, solving the Nobel’s “ethnic diversity” problem is easy — just redefine Jews as “non-white.” In one fell swoop 30+% of the Nobel awards will be “diverse.”

    Likewise, the gender imbalance may partially solve itself in the long run as more male scientists start identifying as “female.”

    • Replies: @Known Fact
  64. Luke Lea says:

    Men are expendable. So nature made them extreme.

  65. Old Prude says:
    @Joe Sweet

    And for not being George W. Bush. It highlights Obama’s solipsistic ego that he didn’t politely decline the award, either so it could be rewarded to a deserving candidate, or at least out of embarrassment at the farce.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  66. Old Prude says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    CPR at least gives bystanders something useful and distracting to do while waiting for the 911 response. I once happened on a coworker passed out on the floor and felt like a worthless loser not knowing what to do to help him. I took a CPR class ASAP and now at least I can feel like I’m helping, even if its marginally effective.

  67. @Bardon Kaldian

    There are some women outliers like Chien-Shiung Wu who was Chinese.

    She probably deserved a Nobel for her work in particle physics.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  68. @SafeNow

    “Another One Bites the Dust” also would work.

    • LOL: Dtbb
  69. @James N. Kennett

    It is often forgotten that Britney Spears is an expert in semiconductor physics.

    That’s precious: Thank you.

    I really like the way she distills the complex into terms laymen can really tap into on her page, Britney’s Lip-Glossary of Semiconductor Physics, Optoelectronics and Photonics.

    Much better than Cindy Crawford Concentration.

    http://www.facade.com/cindy_crawford_concentration/?begin

  70. …I don’t believe there’s ever been a black winner in the hard sciences.

    They don’t even need science when they have magic and voodoo dolls.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  71. @The Alarmist

    Hmmm… I would have though the Theme from Jeopardy would be good, but I guess it’s too fast.

    Composed by Merv Griffin. Nobels can’t be posthumous, can they?

  72. @Old Prude

    My brother is still steamed that “Trainer of the Year” was awarded to another officer at the Navy’s nuclear school because that officer had organized a children’s birthday party for the base commander’s wife.

    You should see what happens when you sleep with the base commander’s daughter.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  73. @Abe

    Just used the LOL, so

    LOL!

    (I guess nobody else appreciates Ronald Reagan.)

  74. d dan says:
    @william munny

    “Do real scientists agree that the typical Nobel winner really deserves it? Is there a real consensus?”

    The answers to both are obviously “not always”. Anyone who thinks the answers are “yes” has an overly romantic and unrealistic view of the scientific process.

    1. Sciences are complex and have many diverse areas. It is impossible to have objective comparisons among different fields, or even sub-fields within a particular area. For example, how do you compare a breakthrough in super-conductor with that of high-energy particle?

    2. The timing of award is hard to be consistent or “fair”. Some achievements were recognized very promptly, while others were delayed for unexplained (or even “unreasonable”) period. Sometime, the committees tried to be conservative, other times, they were very expedite. There were good reasons for some delays (e.g. long wait for experimental confirmation), but other fields might be easily verified. For example, most people regards the theory of relativity to be Einstein greatest achievement, but he wasn’t awarded for that.

    3. The nature of some awards were not without controversies either. While the Prizes are mostly awarded for fundamental breakthroughs in basic sciences, there were cases when they were awarded for practical applications, like 2014 Physics Prize was awarded to Japanese scientists who invented the blue LED lights – presumably it helps to fight global warming. Since Noble’s Will was to award “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind” in the field of physics, it becomes hard to judge who has contributed the “greatest” if they have to decide the overall social, economic or even political benefits to mankind.

    4. Finally, of course, the committees made mistakes (they are human after all). See a list here:
    https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2015/10/nobel_prizes_awarded_for_disproved_discoveries.html

  75. Basto says:
    @International Jew

    At first, I thought you were joking. But when you concluded with George Washington Carver it seemed like he didn’t deserve to be ridiculed so I am assuming that you were serious.

    This is a horrible plan. It’s the opposite of what science is about which is seeking truth. Affirmative action is running away from it. And it’s very unfair to give the prize to someone that doesn’t deserve it instead of one that does. If you aren’t going to award the prize to the appropriate person(s) why even give out a prize at all?

    If a historical figure deserved a prize but was never awarded one because of bigotry then they could be awarded retroactively. The principle here is the most deserving person(s) are awarded prizes, These will be people that you can take pride in and inspiration from. Awarding prizes by any other metric would taint the prize and it’s purpose.

  76. Basto says:
    @International Jew

    At first, I thought you were joking. But when you concluded with George Washington Carver it seemed like he didn’t deserve to be ridiculed so I am assuming that you were serious.

    This is a horrible plan. It’s the opposite of what science is about which is seeking truth. Affirmative action is running away from it. And it’s very unfair to give the prize to someone that doesn’t deserve it instead of one that does. If you aren’t going to award the prize to the appropriate person(s) why even give out a prize at all?

    If a historical figure deserved a prize but was never awarded one because of bigotry then they could be awarded retroactively. The principle here is the most deserving person(s) are awarded prizes, These will be people that you can take pride in and inspiration from. Awarding prizes by any other metric would taint the prize and it’s purpose.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  77. Were Lise Meitner and OR Frisch screwed out of sharing the Nobel with Otto Hahn? Miss Meitner should have received the Peace Prize simply for refusing to work on weapons research in her exile.

    This could make a good Broadway musical– Torn Between Two Ottos.

    • Replies: @gabriel alberton
  78. The truth that dares not speak its name is that quite a few Nobel worthy Jews have been shafted for at lead the past 12 years. I would guess longer but certainly since around 2006. Ans that trend will definitely continue. I won’t waste any more words talking about it here but I enjoy telling truths to those who find that especial truth least palatable or least believable and when this post appeared on my feed I couldn’t resist.

    I don’t care either way. I’m not a science Nobel contendee nor am I a Jew but

  79. Spangel says:

    in a merit based world, we may well expect to see a few more East Asian Nobel laureates in the sciences and a few more women in the biological sciences in the coming decades, based on who is studying what currently.

    But that’s it. The nobels would cease to mean anything if they really start to hand out prizes to blacks and Hispanic looking Hispanics.

    There are probably plenty of social justice warriors who think Katherine Johnson deserves a Nobel physics prize or something. Because she figured out how to get a man in space.

  80. I’m having trouble commenting here. I don’t know if it is my connection or an issue with Ron Unz’e webpage. The previous comment was cut off, so I’ll try and post the rest here —

    I don’t care either way. I’m not a science Nobel contendee nor am I a Jew but Jews have gotten too loud and proud about the percentage of winners from among their tribe and this really really pissed off those Jews who actually have a say in the sciences, including Jewish Nobelers themselves. (Feynman for example would go ape shit whenever anyone mentioned it to him and he Streissanded his Jewishness in the public consciousness by insisting that he wasn’t Jewish because genes are meaningless, bs bs bs…)

    But if any group of honest minds are willing to publicly make a case that the Jews with influence on the Nobel committee are pushing for fewer winners from among their own tribe I am sure it’s you folk (j/k).

  81. MEH 0910 says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I once had a chance to chat with Luis Alvarex (hey, a NAM!)

    Was Luis Alvarez a NAM? To me it looks like he was a white man of European descent.

    Luis Walter Alvarez was born in San Francisco on June 13, 1911, the second child and oldest son of Walter C. Alvarez, a physician, and his wife Harriet née Smyth, and a grandson of Luis F. Álvarez, a Spanish physician, born in Asturias, Spain, that lived in Cuba for a while and finally settled in the United States, who found a better method for diagnosing macular leprosy. He had an older sister, Gladys, a younger brother, Bob, and a younger sister, Bernice.[6] His aunt, Mabel Alvarez, was a California artist specializing in oil painting.[7]

  82. @Anon 2

    He still has it up which is sort of a monument to orneriness.

    https://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

    Anecdotal data: in my field the most capable young female performers quit to marry and become homemakers. The two careerists who got to the top never reproduced and they could not hold a candle to at least one of the mommies.

  83. gcochran says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    You have the Classical-> Hellenistic trend backwards.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  84. @KL

    “Elinor Ostrom is the only woman to win the economics prize, along with 70+ men.”

    And a black guy from the Caribbean won in 1979, W. Arthur Lewis, of Lewis Point renown (among development economists at any rate). Whether China is approaching, at, or beyond the Lewis Point is as hotly debated as Debbie Harry vs Big Miss Muffett.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_turning_point

  85. Altai says:
    @KL

    I’d take that as a win for the reputation of the fairer sex.

  86. George says:

    It looks like more people are sharing the prize for a given year. That implies teams of people are getting the award. If enough people are in a team I would expect a team to have a woman, a nontraditional ethnicity, nonstandard genders ect.

  87. Ibound1 says:

    I have two modest suggestions:

    1) Give the Nobel to that woman for her “study” showing that the Diverse and Female suffer by having to look at portraits of White Male Nobel Prize winners.

    2) Change the term “Nobel Prize Winner” to “Nobel Prize Sinner” and apply to to every white male who ever won prior to now.

  88. Bruno says:

    It would be interesting to have the IQ of Nobel prizes. My intuition is that it was around 150 in 1950’ and it’s around 135 now. And the level of accomplishment is also going fine a lot. So if in the top 0.04% in IQ you had 5% women, it’s around a 40% of people in the top 1% . They should probably represent 20% of winners.

    Economy is the highest IQ prize after Medal Fields before physics. Chemistry and Medicine get after. The only women in economy is a political scientist who worked all her career with her husband. So there is no woman per se.

    In math, the irani girl had a perfect score on Math Medal Olympiad wich is something that only 2/3 people a year achieve. So she was extra-ordinary.

    I ve calculated that 7% of math Olympiad perfect scorers get the medal field. 0,7% of gold medalist. 0,08% of silver and bronze medalist. And 0,0125% (1 out of 8000) among PhD in math.

  89. d dan says:
    @william munny

    p/s: My previous post seemed to get lost after a long delay. So I am re-posting this. Apology if you see my duplicated comment.

    “Do real scientists agree that the typical Nobel winner really deserves it? Is there a real consensus?”

    The answers to both are obviously “not always”. Anyone who thinks the answers are “yes” has an overly romantic and unrealistic view of the scientific process.

    1. Sciences are complex and have many diverse areas. It is impossible to have objective comparisons among different fields, or even sub-fields within a particular area. For example, how do you compare a breakthrough in super-conductor with that of high-energy particle?

    2. The timing of award is hard to be consistent or “fair”. Some achievements were recognized very promptly, while others were delayed for unexplained (or even “unreasonable”) period. Sometime, the committees tried to be conservative, other times, they were very expedite. There were good reasons for some delays (e.g. long wait for experimental confirmation), but other fields might be easily verified. For example, most people regards the theory of relativity to be Einstein greatest achievement, but he wasn’t awarded for that.

    3. The nature of some awards were not without controversies either. While the Prizes are mostly awarded for fundamental breakthroughs in basic sciences, there were cases when they were awarded for practical applications, like 2014 Physics Prize was awarded to Japanese scientists who invented the blue LED lights – presumably it helps to fight global warming. Since Noble’s Will was to award “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind” in the field of physics, it becomes hard to judge who has contributed the “greatest” if they have to decide the overall social, economic or even political benefits to mankind.

    4. Finally, of course, the committees made mistakes (they are human after all). See a list here:
    https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2015/10/nobel_prizes_awarded_for_disproved_

  90. We are just getting started with social construction of minorities.

    Aspy’s, gingers, short people, &c. There is no end to the human peculiarities which are singled out for disdain by people who sort of look like the people reading the scripts on the television news shows.

    I have Morton’s toes. One day I am going to qualify for special treatment I have only a very small doubt. I think maybe I am going to use THAT for my new internet handle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton%27s_toe

  91. anonymous[546] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    Is Saker female? the writer in question once admitted to being a “fanboy” of some middle eastern celebrity male, but the term “fanboy” does not exclude the possibility that the writer is female ; in fact, it sort of implies it, in that complex and ambiguous way cherished by a certain type of writer.

    Also, is Bonnie Faulkner an “author” at the Unz review, if she is, that makes 2 (or 3, depending on if Saker is male or female).

    And two or three of the elderly male writers here clearly are afraid to write anything their wives disapprove of — I remember reading their uxorious admissions but I am not sure how to find those admissions in the billions of words on this website — so potentially there’s that, too.

    By the way, and in case English is not your native language, let me tell you (as Harold Stern’s sad parents like to say) uxorious is a difficult word for even people who speak English. When Reagan died, one of the major conservative magazines (NR, I think) hilariously praised him for being a ‘Husband who was always uxorious”. Sad! In hindsight (I used to subscribe to that magazine) hilarious, but still sad.

  92. SafeNow says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    I was an ocean lifeguard and trained ocean lifeguards. Your comment is true about CPR saving the life only a small percent of the time. But you still try it (911 is called first). My comment about Stayin’ Alive is correct; there are actually outcome studies showing that people thinking of that song perform more ineffective CPR than those who do not.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
  93. Dr. Doom says:

    The message is now clear.

    White males need to stop oppressing womyn and minorities with scientific and medical advancements.

  94. anonymous[532] • Disclaimer says:
    @gcochran

    not just a trend but a documented and indisputable progression, unless one believes that, say, the Antikythera mechanism (Hellenistic) was not based on then-up-to-date technology but was a one-off reproduction of what would then be centuries old classical technologies – sort of as if we in 2019 were to rebuild the Saturn rockets and millennia hence only the 2019 versions were to survive in memory ….. .
    A similar theme was used by the screenwriters of that movie where Alan Rickman played some poor actor who had been stuck forever in a cheesy science fiction role – Galaxy Quest …. .
    On the other hand, Classical pottery – and not just Classical pottery , in general, but early Classical pottery, specifically ( if I remember correctly a conversation at the Met in 1988 – in front of the then newly acquired masterpiece depicting Thanatos and Hypnos with the body of Sarpedon) – Classical pottery in all its technical details took longer to figure out by the great pottery historians of the 20th and 21st century than Hellenistic pottery did. I could be wrong about that, I don’t really know any pottery historians and the journals and scholarly literature are not that reliable. And I forget who it was I was talking to that day in 1988.

  95. Jack D says:
    @PhysicistDave

    my advisor claimed that anyone having dibs on the Bevatron could have done it

    Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were working on the Holmdel Horn Antenna – a large microwave horn antenna that was used as a satellite communication antenna during the 1960s at Bell Labs. There was a persistent background noise and they were tasked by their supervisors with getting rid of it. Their first guess was that it was being caused by pigeon droppings on the antenna and they ordered a thorough scrubbing but the noise persisted. They eventually worked out that what they detected was Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, which is the leftover heat from the Big Bang. They got the Nobel Prize for this. If scrubbing the pigeon droppings had worked well enough to reduce the hiss, then nada.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @Steve Sailer
  96. Sean says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    His first marriage did not last very long, his infamous whore if they don’t sleep with you after being bought a drink musings seem to have been from when he spent extended time actually time whoring in Brazil, and his second wife complained he was abusive.

    I am a great believer in no smoke without fire and at least one contemporary said he was known for targeting the wives of grad students, which stinks of him leveraging his institutional prestige to kick other people around under a consensual facade. I would see the husbands as the wronged party, not Feynman the sophisticated older man knocking over other men’s wives because they were the young women it was easiest for him to inveigle into bed.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    , @Jack D
    , @glib
  97. @Amerimutt Golems

    Well, I mentioned her…. Of course there were other women, most notably Lise Meitner. But the greatest mind of them all was Emmy Noether.

  98. @Sean

    ? What are you writing about? The worst that can be said about Feynman is that he frequented sex clubs, certainly could not hold his liquor when in Brazil & had, I think, 2 affairs with his colleagues’ wives.

    No sex blackmail, no violence, not anything comparable to Sweinstein.

    • Replies: @Sean
  99. @PhysicistDave

    I’m not saying the Nobelists weren’t Aspergery (they’re physicists!), but there is such a thing as Aspergery but decent.

    Well….not. Dirac certainly was Aspie, but most great mathematicians & physicists in past 100 years were normal, ordinary bunch of people.

  100. @The Alarmist

    You should see what happens when you sleep with the base commander’s daughter.

    Training accident?

  101. @theMann

    If you want to know more about what kind of people Physicists are, Google Einstein Plagiarism to start with.

    Sigh….

    C/P of my recent comment

    The article is clearly tendentious, but what is, in my eyes, more interesting is -who is a genius?

    Historically, genius was close, but not identical to Greek daimon, or some deity “above” a person who leads or protects him, akin to guardian angel. In relatively modern usage, without spiritual/religious connotation, this is applied to individuals who are extremely gifted in their chosen fields.

    On closer inspection, people who are virtually superhuman in their gifts are easy to recognize, there are very few of them. If we are to believe their biographers & can evaluate their works, there is no doubt that transcendent, almost god-like geniuses were Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, Plato, Bach, Gauss, Newton, Euler, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Beethoven, Proust, …

    Lesser known creative “supermen” include, I’d say, William Rowan Hamilton, Thomas Young & some others.

    On the other hand, there are tremendously influential people who, in my opinion, were not geniuses – or at least there was nothing “superhuman” about them; very gifted but not so transcendentally creative – but somehow happened to be in the right place & in the right time: Copernicus, Darwin, …
    Also, there are fields like chemistry & biomedical sciences where one can change the world very much, but I don’t see a wealth of extreme creativity & ingenuity- say, Lavoisier or Pasteur.

    Charles Murray, being interviewed about his book “Human Accomplishment”, said that, in his opinion, the most accomplished (influential) human being was Aristotle. I happen to agree, but- there is something plodding & boring about Aristotle that puts him, I’d say, far below Plato- although Aristotle was much more influential in a variety of fields. Or, take one of 10-20 most important discoveries in history, DNA. Watson & Crick, co-discoverers, do not seem to qualify as even small geniuses. Without them, DNA structure was bound to be discovered, sooner or later. In other fields, Goethe seems to have been a genius of personality, a truly fascinating & charismatic man. But, his work is, if we read it from contemporary point of view, a rather small enterprise in comparison with Tolstoy’s.

    So, where this leaves us with Einstein?

    Einstein was- putting aside all the gobbledegook about plagiarism etc.- truly a remarkable genius, but not quite of the caliber of Newton or Gauss. He looms larger than many others due to a combination of various elements. One thing is, certainly, Jewish propaganda- but this is not crucial. Actually, there was a confluence of factors: in 20th C, physics replaced chemistry as the science (which was dominant in the 19th C world-view, just read Jules Verne); special & general theories of relativity fire popular imagination much more than more radical modern quantum mechanics & its later developments because space-time is more fundamental to our perception of life than some quantized energies or probabilistic interpretation most people can’t relate to; then, gravity & cosmology seem to impress people because there is a hint of something grand, literally cosmic & “ultimate” – so average Joe Sixpack gets a thrill from this scientific metaphysics for dummies, so to speak; Einstein’s stature was magnified also by popular cliches of armchair super-mind who disentangles “mysteries of universe”. He was, doubtless, the last universal physicist & the one who had overturned many common sense notions on space & time which were taken for granted. Here, I think, most of his appeal lies. His accomplishment will be cherished even when many of his basic concepts are superseded.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @anonymous
  102. Jack D says:
    @International Jew

    The Nazis must have had this same problem. How did they handle it?

    I know the Soviets had to keep airbrushing people out of photos & such. They had to put up all those statues of Stalin and take them all down and then after 89 they had to take down all the Lenins too.

    We are not the 1st society with this problem.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  103. Jack D says:
    @Sean

    His first marriage did not last very long

    Because his high school sweetheart wife died at 25 of tuberculosis and he had to deal with her long sickness and then death while he was also working on the Manhattan Project – this could not have been easy. Maybe this affected his attitude toward women and life in general. Some people turn toward religion in such circumstances – he turned away.

  104. Nico says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    Depends on what the condition in question is. Because of television a lot of people assume defibrillation is effective for asystole (i.e., “flat-line” ECG), which can be treated (if at all) only by CPR and intravenous drugs, when in fact defibrillation actually STOPS the heartbeat momentarily to get the rhythms back to a regular state.

  105. The only way to conclude a winner in each category is… the fisrt one to make fire with a bow drill.
    Perhaps the Africans might hold some sway then.

  106. glib says:
    @Sean

    In the 4th floor hall of the Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisa Fisica in RdJ there is a commemorative picture of a dinner with Feynman. The long table is all men in black, except two women in white dresses, on either side of Feynman. My wife picked it up right away, and it speaks volumes, in particular about how the south american elites submit to the USA…

    • Replies: @Jack D
  107. anonymous[546] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Gotta give a shout out to anyone who starts a comment “Sigh” -perhaps you , like me, were first introduced to the concept of genius when reading Peanuts???? ( a cartoon from years gone by where the characters, when faced with human stupidity or ignorance or simple human lack of energy on the part of other characters, would simply say ‘Sigh’)
    not to mention being first introduced by Peanuts to WWI history , the Red Baron and being shot down over the lonely villages of Picardy, but that is another story …

    Proust – not a transcendent genius. Very good stylist, guessed at how the great home country English predecessors of Ruskin (Keats, predominantly, but also Coleridge and Newman and a few others) would have written if they had written a French bildungsroman – remember that Illiers de Combray was only about a hundred miles from Middlesex – but there is no way he could have, for example, rewritten the Paradiso of Dante as well as, say, his sort-of-contemporary Chekhov rewrote the more melancholy parts of Shakespeare (the poor little dog waiting at the side of the road in the rain, waiting with almost no hope for a rich eccentric lady to pull over in her Rolls Royce and be enchanted and give him a forever home, because everyone knows rich old ladies in Rolls Royces love to adopt sad wet little dogs sitting at the side of the road, and to give them forever homes).

    Caesar discovered military bureaucracy, and was given the extremely mediocre and very totalitarian ability to develop military bureaucracy in his disgusting Roman way – he was one of the worst of Romans, if not the worst – and he did what someone like him would do with that power, nobody missed him when he died – and, as much as I like Dostoevsky when he was not being a crackpot, no thorough crackpot like poor Dostoevsky deserves entrance to the hallowed halls of “universal genius”.

    By the way, above and beyond Einstein’s indebtedness to everyone from Mach to obscure people who wrote about Brownian motions before he did, he was, in his off-science days, a complete self-satisfied idiot. My guess is that, once every year or so, two or three people who can do what he did are born in New Jersey or New York. I could be wrong, maybe you have to add in Connecticut too.

    So, let’s drop Proust, Caesar and Dostoevsky from your list.

    Gauss was better at tooting his own horn than Euler, but they both were remarkable.
    Ramanujan may have been better —– out of a million people who are in the top one percent of people, measured by mathematical ability, maybe two or three can know whether Ramanujan was as close to the truth as he liked to think he was.

    I am not one of those two or three. But I am right about Proust, Caesar, and Dostoevsky, so there’s that.

    Aristotle, had he been as smart as you think, would no doubt have been celebrated again and again in the poetry of his age as a great wit, a magnanimous soul, and a deep sage. He wasn’t, so probably what’s on the page is a good assessment of his abilities (W.K.C. Guthrie noted that there are about 500 to 1,000 words in the Aristotelean corpus that were probably actually written by Aristotle – almost all of it was lecture notes or transcriptions – and to give Aristotle his due, he was at least at the Proust level in those 500 to 1,000 words).

    Also , Michelangelo never painted a beautiful woman. Just saying. Not a real genius, just a little guy who got lucky that his gifts corresponded to his age, although even with that advantage the poor little guy missed out on half of the successes a real artist, with similar gifts, would have achieved. Raphael, Titian, Correggio – maybe real geniuses. Michelangelo – doubtful.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  108. Anon[170] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon 2

    Boston has a road bridge called Big Papi, or whatever is the name of that guy. But there is no street bearing the name of any living Nobel winner.

    This blogger talks more about bn sports or Jared Diamond, than about Nobels.

  109. Dan Hayes says:
    @Jack D

    Jack D:

    The winning attribute of Penzias & Wilson was that they had supreme confidence in their data. They had no explanation for it until altered to Cosmic Background Radiation by a fellow astronomer on an airline flight. About that same time Dicke at Princeton was in the process of setting up an experiment to detect the radiation which had been predicted by Gamow and described in one of his popular books.

    Dicke was too late. Gamow never got Nobel recognition for his work. Penzias was lucky to have caught that flight!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  110. @gcochran

    How so, exactly? Most of the great scientific breakthroughs happened during the Classical period, or the early Hellenistic.

    I just checked with Murray’s Human Accomplishment database to make sure. There are 93 eminent Ancient Greeks who turned 40 and/or died before 300 BC, i.e. could no longer be ascribed to the Classical period; of these, 70 are during the Classical period proper, i.e. after 500 BC. Between 300 BC and 1 AD (i.e. who primarily worked in Hellenistic period) there were just 31 eminent figures; moreover, of these, more than half (16) accrued to the the 3rd century BC alone.

    Note that I am talking of scientific breakthroughs – not technological mastery, economic complexity, literacy rates, etc. (All of which were higher during both the Hellenistic period, and for a long time under the Roman Empire as well).

    • Replies: @Douglas Knight
  111. @Redneck farmer

    Not necessarily!! A very famous White so-called racist, Dr. William Shockley Jr., won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for his discovery of the semiconductor transistor. This discovery later mushroomed into the entire semiconductor and then computer industry. In order to discover the semiconductor transistor effect, Shockley and colleagues literally were compelled to manufacture, crudely, at Bell Labs many such prototypes. The prototypes proved the theory!! That is the nature of semiconductor physics.

  112. @d dan

    Nakamura pioneered the development in what is called III-V semiconductor physics by being the first one to demonstrate a successful semiconductor device made from GaN!!

    So your comment in 3. is a little too simplistic in assessing the reasons for awarding him the Nobel Prize in Physics. When was the last time that you made, even in a laboratory setting, a fully functioning semiconductor diode, starting with GaN, that functioned either as a photovoltaic detector or as an electronic amplifier??

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @d dan
  113. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @jim jones

    Someone needs to start keeping record of all these fusterclucks caused by you go grrl! wannabe superwomen. There is this Theranos woman. There was the woman who presided over the recent Jibo robot fiasco. There was that Florida bridge collapse last year. There were various collisions and mishaps at sea presided over by female naval officers. And we just saw the conviction of an idiot in police uniform who shot an innocent man in his own house. What else?

    To be honest, I feel sorry for a lot of these females. They’ve been lied to. Put on pedestals and told that they’re super talented geniuses who can do anything. The media praises them to the skies, banks and investors throw cash at them, they get promoted up hierarchies beyond their abilities. But of course, when they screw up they’re left alone to take the blame. The people who helped cause the mess are suddenly nowhere to be seen.

  114. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @d dan

    The reason the prizes are respected is that they’re awarded by a pair of small unremarkable countries with no notable national/religious/political rivalries or biases. They would never get any respect if they were in the gift of France or America or China etc. The Nobel prizes are probably as neutral and unbiased as its humanly possible to be. (That may not be saying much of course.)

    • Replies: @d dan
    , @Yngvar
    , @Justvisiting
  115. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @Old Prude

    Yes, he would have gained far more respect by declining the prize than he did by accepting it. That he couldn’t see this reflected poorly on his judgement, and set an ominous precedent for the future.

  116. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @Basto

    If it’s OK to retroactively award prizes to people who weren’t thought worthy at the time, why isn’t it OK to retroactively strip prizes from people who were formerly thought worthy but no longer are?

    You you’re cool with one you must be cool with the other too.

    In both cases you’re rewriting the past.

  117. @IHTG

    Anyway, Trump can’t get a Nobel Peace prize due to insufficient droning.

    • Replies: @Ibound1
  118. anonymous[532] • Disclaimer says:
    @Eternally Antifascist

    Not taking sides on this, but I like to think I may have done that (made a functioning semiconductor ‘diode’, starting with an archaic predecessor of what you – I am assuming accurately – call GaN but which I would have called by a more accurate name, that functioned, granted, not as an electronic amplifier, but as a photovoltaic detector – it was sort of a minimalist lab) in October 1978.

    Judging from d dan’s level of eloquence and apparent accuracy (but who I am I to judge), I am guessing he could have done it too if he had worked in the same lab as me.

    But you know, I am not the sort of guy who keeps lab records.

    Let us respect each other, cor ad cor loquitur and all that, everyone knows lots of people who post on the internet are just showing off, but some people do actually know what they are talking about.
    Even if you disagree with people on the internet with whom you disagree, you have to admit that there are many people out there with rather impressive levels of knowledge and experience.

  119. Anonymous[233] • Disclaimer says:
    @Amerimutt Golems

    In defense of these people, ‘science’ was used for generations for justify Apartheid. (And the Watson affair shows that such views aren’t ancient history either.) If I was African I’d be pretty anti-science too.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  120. @anonymous

    You just don’t understand Proust & others, so I would not waste a time to argue about that.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  121. @Anonymous

    Good luck with it. I just hope Africans will follow your lead.

  122. Dorkbaby says:

    The issue isn’t the relative worthiness of whites and Asians for Nobel. The issue revolves around what Murray and Herrnstein failed to address in The Bell Curve, which is the cognitive nothingness at the right tail of curve for blacks. We saw just how far in the barrel they had to reach to give that racist hack To I Morrison the lit prize. It’s much worse in sciences. Lol. Pathetic really

    • Replies: @Spangel
  123. @eric

    I saw on twitter some lefty call Matt Taibbi the “Harvey Weinstein of journalism”. As you may have gathered, the blue checkmark army is not happy with Matt these days.

  124. @PhysicistDave

    Alvarez had a Spanish born grandfather who moved to Cuba, then the US, the rest of his ancestry appears to be Northern European. Of course if you are using the NYT definition of “Hispanic” or “Latino” then the Spanish husband and wife acting team of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz qualify as NAM, but I’m guessing you are using that definition ironically.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  125. Ibound1 says:
    @Twodees Partain

    He is refusing to get the US involved in the upcoming Turkish/Syrian/Kurdish war. That’s practically a war crime in DC.

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  126. anonymous[532] • Disclaimer says:

    There are people, Mr Kaldian, who have what Aquinas called the

    (1)
    near-angelic ability to reason upon first principles without the slowness endemic to the human who does not know God and

    (2)
    the ability of the pure and simple among humans to see art as it would have been seen on the first day of creation and to know what time had done and what time never could have done for the works of art which could have been so much better

    (3)
    the ability to be able to explain their reasoning and their appreciation of art to the ignorant, so that they too can understand wisdom as it can be found on this poor sad earth.

    In my case, I guess, in light of your (superficially researched and, to tell the truth, not very well thought out) insult, that I can only claim the first two gifts.

    Please read Proverbs 8 and then reread my comment.

    I appreciate what Michelangelo and Proust and Aristotle did but I was right about their huge lack of divine inspiration.

    Thanks for reading!

  127. anonymous[546] • Disclaimer says:

    Mr Kaldian, just sticking to France, you may wish to consider

    (a) what Peguy was able to achieve in his epic poem Eve with respect to the passage of time and the love of those who prioritize love for others, compared to what Proust tried, and failed, to do , in his “Search for Lost Time” (google Peguy Eve Proust Balthasar for further elucidation)

    (b) what the greatest of architectural historians had to say about Michelangelo and his rather commonplace dreams of glory as compared to the supreme achievements of the best European architects of the 13th and 14th century and

    (c) look up, if you have not already done so, my reference to W.K.C. Guthrie’s magisterial work on Aristotle, which was enthusiastically reviewed in all the French periodicals of the day, if I am not mistaken. (almost all of the sources are unavailable for linking on the internet, by the way).

    As always, thanks for reading!

    • Replies: @anonymous
  128. Spangel says:
    @Dorkbaby

    Agree. Blacks are the only major racial group to be totally absent at the far right tail of intellectual feats. There are even Latino chess grand masters and formidable mathematicians.

    But whenever there is an objective direct competition of intellectual merit, blacks get nowhere near the top. For ex, I’m not sure if there has ever been a black gold medalist at the math Olympiad.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  129. @Ibound1

    More impeachable offenses. Adam Schiff will be all over that, for sure.

  130. anonymous[546] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    anonymous 546 said —- and with respect to my criticisms of Julius Caesar, whom I correctly contended is fantastically over-praised by those of us who are ignorant of history, you might take them (id est, my criticisms of the late emperor) a little more seriously if you look at the dedication page of General Schwarzkopf’s autobiography, where a fairly impressive group of soldiers, of which, when I was young and a soldier, I was not among the least, is eloquently mentioned, with deep and heart-felt gratitude.

  131. @El Dato

    El Dato wrote:

    WHO ARE YOU, Physicist Dave?

    Well… I’ve mentioned this many times, but since you ask:

    Real name, Dave Miller. BS from Caltech in physics, which is where I took classes from Feynman (two years) and Kip Thorne (one year). Ph.D. from Stanford, where I took Quantum Field Theory from Weinberg (Steve was on sabbatical for a year) and worked on projects headed by Richter and Perl in elementary-particle physics. I first met Luis Alvarez when he was visiting at Caltech; I heard his talk on the dinosaurs when I was a doctoral student at Stanford. After my PhD, I went to work in industry, working in the semiconductor industry (our team won a technical Emmy in the late ’80s) and then went on to work on data communication and storage technology (error-correction coding), a field in which I am co-inventor on various patents.

    I met Steve Hawking once (for obvious reasons, I could not carry on a conversation!).

    Most importantly, the actor John Goodman went to my high school, and so I have performed onstage with a guy with Kevin Bacon number of 1 (yeah, I know this does not give me a Kevin Bacon number).

    So, there you have it — my claims to fame, such as they are.

    I hope it is obvious that anyone going to a couple of elite universities could have had these experiences — it’s nothing exceptional.

    On the other hand, I have never met a famous politician or entertainer (aside from Goodman). I did once meet the now infamous Charles Koch when I was at Stanford and had a chat with him, not knowing he was a billionaire: I dismissed him as boring.

  132. Anon 2 says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Yes, it’s clear that science has entered the stage of diminishing returns –
    enormous effort (and expense) yields meager results. This is particularly
    true of physics and, more disappointingly, of medicine. In chemistry,
    for example, many are still waiting for a new psychedelic drug, comparable
    to LSD but with fewer visual distortions and less chance of experiencing
    a bad trip.

    • Disagree: d dan
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  133. Jack D says:
    @glib

    Or else you are reading too much into a photo.

    • Replies: @glib
  134. Malcolm Y says:

    Well, the solution is obvious: keep white men (our quaint American “caucasians” – Jesus; what an asshole) from getting an education. Actually, they may have already instituted that program.

  135. Jack D says:
    @Spangel

    There are even Latino chess grand masters and formidable mathematicians.

    “Latinos” range from 0 to 100% European but the kind of Latinos who are chess champions, etc. tend to be 100% European or very close to it – in other words they are just European white people who happen to be living in Latin America. By contrast, the kind of “Latinos” who are sneaking across the border are maybe 50% European or less. The media would like you to conflate one group with the other but they are like chalk and cheese. In one group you have Capablanca, in the other you have Capablanca’s cleaning lady. Capablanca and his cleaning lady both spoke Spanish but otherwise they had as much in common as you and Aunt Jemima.

    • Replies: @Spangel
  136. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    By contrast, the kind of “Latinos” who are sneaking across the border are maybe 50% European or less. The media would like you to conflate one group with the other but they are like chalk and cheese. In one group you have Capablanca, in the other you have Capablanca’s cleaning lady. Capablanca and his cleaning lady both spoke Spanish but otherwise they had as much in common as you and Aunt Jemima.

    Where I live we mostly see the real browners ( a certain type or tribe of indio) and the pretty-browners (mestizos). The pure indios don’t cause all that much trouble, the mestizos are always getting into problems. Not as bad as blacks, but we have few of those.

    We are getting the people in Mexico who are smart enough to realize they will never get to the top in Mexico but can go farther in El Norte until the gringo toughens up and has had enough. And there are too many gringos that have economic incentives to keep the shit show going or are cucks for this to happen any time very soon.

  137. @glib

    glib wrote to me:

    Then there is Cabibbo, a co-creator of the CKM matrix. K and M got their Nobel, but not Cabibbo. Granted, he was connected to the Vatican, a fact that was probably not liked in Uppsala.

    Thanks. I had not noticed that, and it does seem strange.

    For everyone not in the field: back in the ’70s and ’80s, the “Cabibbo angle” was on everyone’s mind: if you knew anything about the field besides “quarks” and “mesons,” you knew about the Cabibbo angle. Without knowing all the details, I certainly would have thought he would have gotten the Prize.

  138. Spangel says:
    @Jack D

    I used to think that too until I looked at who was winning at what. Below is Peru’s 2018 math olympiad team:

    https://perureports.com/five-peruvians-medal-at-international-mathematical-olympiad/8045/

    To me, those look like hispanics. Definitely not white hispanics. Definitely not approaching 100% white. Not a bunch of asian ringers, which frankly is what the whole of the anglosphere math olympiad teams have become.

    But there they are with 2 silvers and 3 bronzes, ranking 35th overall. That’s better than finland, norway and hong kong did in 2018, which are admittedly markedly smaller countries. But still, point stands that meztisos are not non existent on the right tail. I haven’t done real estimations on it, but my guesstimate would be that if whites and asians are 1000x more prevalent on the far right tail compared to blacks (for example, being able to medal on the math olympiad), then meztisos are 100x more likely to be on the far right tail.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  139. @Unladen Swallow

    Unladen Swallow wrote to me:

    Of course if you are using the NYT definition of “Hispanic” or “Latino” then the Spanish husband and wife acting team of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz qualify as NAM, but I’m guessing you are using that definition ironically.

    Well, yeah, a bit, although in the literal meaning of the term Luis certainly was “Hispanic.”

    In any case, as far as I know, he was a great guy.

  140. @Anon 2

    Anon 2 wrote:

    Yes, it’s clear that science has entered the stage of diminishing returns –
    enormous effort (and expense) yields meager results. This is particularly
    true of physics…

    As a physicist, I agree with you, though it is interesting to consider the direction of cause and effect. When there are huge pots of government money lying around, researchers are going to tend to come up with projects that require a huge amount of money. And, if you are spending a few billion of taxpayer money, you better have an experiment planned that is pretty certain to pay off.

    On the other hand, if your experiments each cost a thousand bucks plus stuff you scrounged around in your own lab (or your buddies’ labs), one guy can easily run a half dozen such experiments each year, even if most are likely to fail.

    I.e., Big Science necessarily goes for the Sure Thing. The random, exploratory stuff — Oersted, Kamerlingh Onnes, Becquerel — is only possible if it is cheap.

    Big Science tends, long term, to drive you into a rut.

    In the last few decades, not surprisingly some of the most exciting work in physics has in fact been “tabletop” experiments on quantum entanglement, quantum computing, quantum cryptography, etc. Of course, Big Money is now pouring into those areas: we’ll see if that wrecks it.

    • Replies: @Anon 2
  141. glib says:
    @Jack D

    no, I spent a lot of time there. I found that photo quite indicative of how they approach their relation with the US. Just before the 2008 crisis, a businessman I knew told me that if one country could fix that, it would be the USA. How did that turn out?

  142. Sean says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    As a scientist he was of the first rank, and for all I know Feynman was a better and much more creative thinker for his extra curricular activities such as bongo playing and a horizontal rumba sabbatical in Rio. He himself suggested his disregard for convention was part of a formula for original thinking that he had worked out during an early fallow period (aided by reading certain remarks of James Watson). So the part women played in Feynman’s science was important.

    In many cases the single women who slept with Weinstein did very well out of what is a time honoured and fair arrangement in that particular business. You must be very naive to think that Feynman was not scoring wives by subtly implying that it would be good for the husband’s career, and I very much doubt it was.

    I suppose the lesson is that achievement such as Feynman’s is not just the product of brainpower and hard (unremitting) uni-directional momentum towards a solution, but goes along with, and may even require, eccentric diversions into apparently unproductive areas.

  143. d dan says:
    @Eternally Antifascist

    “Nakamura pioneered the development in what is called III-V semiconductor physics by being the first one to demonstrate a successful semiconductor device made from GaN!!”

    The comment is not meant to put down on their technical achievements nor to suggest that they didn’t deserve it, if that is what offends you.

    “So your comment in 3. is a little too simplistic in assessing the reasons for awarding him the Nobel Prize in Physics.”

    The award was (highlights mine) “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”. The Press Release mentioned “due to low power requirements it can be powered by cheap local solar power.” You can read the text to decide whether the “greatest benefit on mankind” was due to its energy saving feature, and if this was indeed a “green” award:

    https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/2014/press-release/

    Note again I am not taking a position on this particular decision. My comment is meant to illustrate the immense scope of assessment the committee needs to take up. Hence my assertion in previous post that there can’t always be a consensus.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  144. d dan says:
    @Anonymous

    “The reason the prizes are respected is that they’re awarded by a pair of small unremarkable countries with no notable national/religious/political rivalries or biases. ”

    That certainly helps, but this reason alone is grossly insufficient to achieve respect or universal confidence of impartiality. For if it is, then the Peace and Literature Prizes won’t have so much controversies.

    “The Nobel prizes are probably as neutral and unbiased as its humanly possible to be. (That may not be saying much of course.)”

    It is hard to argue against this.

  145. Anon 2 says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Of course, when I said that physics has entered the stage of diminishing
    returns, I meant fundamental physics. The current example of that is
    the continuing failure by the hyperexpensive Large Hadron Collider in
    Geneva to find higher dimensions (superstrings are presumed to
    live in 10 or 11 dimensions. Where are they?) or the supersymmetric
    partners to ordinary particles (such as selectrons,
    stop quarks or gluinos). LHC’s main claim to fame so far is that it
    found the Higgs boson but the latter was already predicted more than
    50 years ago. On the other hand, what many elementary particle
    physicists would (condescendingly) call “applied physics” is doing reasonably well.
    I have in mind optics, condensed matter physics, acoustics, atomic physics,
    quantum computing, etc.

    By the way, I knew Feynman personally, and if he lived today, he would’ve
    been #MeToo’ed faster than you could say topless bars and nude drawings.
    In fact, to the feminists he’s already become a persona non grata because
    in one of his books he bragged that in the 1940s he used what today is called
    negging in order to go to bed with Las Vegas showgirls.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  146. @Dan Hayes

    I had dinner with Rice grad Robert Wilson when they brought him to Rice after he won his Nobel in the late 1970s. He was very humble. That was always a controversial Nobel, but when I mentioned it to a professor of astronomy, he said: “It’s not a coincidence that they gave the Nobel to the finest experimental astronomer of his generation.”

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  147. @Jack D

    Penzias and Wilson asked a Princeton prof what could be the source of this background noise and he explained it had been predicted previously. On the other hand, they were extremely careful technical guys so they had methodically collected all the data needed.

    I think it was one of those situations where the limit of 3 Nobelists causes a problem: you have two experimentalist and perhaps two theoreticians, but the rule is you can’t divvy the prize up 4 ways, so you end up having to choose which pair to honor.

    I vaguely recall that Joe Wambaugh wrote a detective novel about Caltech where something like this was the ingenious solution to the mystery. Mostly I liked Wambaugh’s description of the tiny but perfect Faculty Bar at Caltech, which I got into years later and totally had to agree.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  148. Dan Hayes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Steve,

    Wilson was doing some mundane experimental work when notified of his Nobel Prize. That same day he kept working at it undeterred till the work was finished. Now that’s a real scientist! And as you noted, a very humble one!

    I suspect that Penzias & Wilson were classic examples of different personalities who somehow or other meshed well together.

  149. I detect contempt in those statements. And from the winners, it sounds like they’re kind of trolling the SJWs. Perhaps there is hope.

  150. Dan Hayes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Steve,

    I’m still puzzled why George Gamow didn’t receive a Nobel Prize for his Cosmic Background Radiation prediction. Perhaps like Fred Hoyle he incurred the enmity of the Nobel Committee?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  151. @Anon 2

    Anon 2 wrote:

    By the way, I knew Feynman personally, and if he lived today, he would’ve
    been #MeToo’ed faster than you could say topless bars and nude drawings.

    How long ago? Were you an undergrad at Caltech?

    I took QM from Feynman my junior year and Intro to Elementary Particles my senior year back in the mid-70s. One of the other profs warned my wife (then girlfriend) about Feynman and women, though my impression was that by then he had slowed down. He seemed more of a family man: in particular, he would occasionally tell all of us little anecdotes about his son, Carl, of whom he was quite proud. I did once meet Gweneth, and it seemed to me that she had had a bit of a calming influence on him.

    • Replies: @Anon 2
  152. Paul says:

    Why hasn’t any black woman ever won the Nobel Prize for physics? Obviously, there must be discrimination going on.

  153. Jack D says:
    @Spangel

    Coming in 35th at the Math Olympiad is not exactly a world historical accomplishment, especially given that a bunch of smaller Asian countries (and not just China) are in the top 10.

    But I take your point that Mestizos are capable of doing OK if rarely great work in math, which is more than can be said of blacks (perhaps other than mostly white mixed race Malcolm Gladwell type “blacks”). The problem is that the real cutting edge work in math – the stuff that gets you the Fields Medal, is not done by silver and bronze winners. Bruno says that winning silver or bronze gives you a .08% chance of winning a future Fields Medal, which is better than random but not much. If the world had to depend on only these guys without any whites or Asians, the pace of progress would be much much slower.

    • Replies: @Spangel
  154. Duke84 says:
    @The Alarmist

    Yale and Columbia should also be renamed.Both men were involved in slavery.

  155. Jack D says:
    @d dan

    I think it’s fair to say that the development of LED lighting was of great practical benefit to mankind. That “it can be powered by cheap local solar power” is spin in a press release, not the underlying reason it was awarded (though admittedly it didn’t hurt).

  156. Anon 2 says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Without revealing who I am, this was in the mid- to late-70s.
    True, by then he slowed down quite a bit (he had a horrible
    bout with cancer in the late ‘70s – I saw how gaunt he looked right
    after the surgery). However, I knew a few people at Caltech who
    knew him well in the ‘60s, and they told me a few stories. Nothing
    horrific, mind you, but in today’s climate that probably would’ve been enough
    to get him #MeToo’ed. For example, just taking his male graduate
    students to topless bars in Pasadena would today be considered
    outrageous. Moreover, the fact that in the ‘60s he picked a good-looking female
    student at Caltech to develop his drawing skills would not sit well with
    the feminists today. I knew her reasonably well – she became a well-known
    astrophysicist. Her photographic memory helped. I’m sure you know
    who I’m talking about. So nothing outrageous by the ‘60s standards but
    not in today’s atmosphere.

  157. @Reg Cæsar

    Probably. But Meitner got Meitnerium. Not that winning a Nobel and having one’s name on the periodic table are mutually exclusive, as many Nobel laureates got elements named after them (Seaborg got his while he was alive), but unless the periodic table gets to be rather quickly expanded to include non-neutral atoms as elements (with separate names), or the Nobel prizes in physics or chemistry soon cease to be awarded (or are awarded more sparingly), there will be more total Nobels in either physics or chemistry than elements in the periodic table still in this century. I argue this is evidence that having an element named after someone is more important, in the long term, than having them win a physics/chemistry Nobel.

  158. Yngvar says:
    @Anonymous

    The Peace Prize for 1906 was awarded to Teddy Roosevelt. He had gotten just 5 out of 57 nominations, but Norway had unilaterally declared its independence from Sweden in 1905 and needed all the allies it could get.
    In 1919, after WWI, Woodrow Wilson clinched it. In trying times you need friends, right?
    In ’45 Cordell Hull got the honor, just to get the US attention.

    The Norwegian government finally quit using the award as a foreign policy tool in the 50’s and granted the committee autonomy. Mind, membership is a sinecure for former MP’s – they don’t want it to get completely out of hand.

    The prize-committee used to skip awarding it if no worthy candidate was found. They don’t do that anymore, its all a business now.

    Obama got the gold gong because Norwegian politicos wanted to meet the guy. Simple as that.

  159. Peebles is Canadian-American. Mayor and Queloz are Swiss.

  160. @Dan Hayes

    I’m still puzzled why George Gamow didn’t receive a Nobel Prize for his Cosmic Background Radiation prediction. Perhaps like Fred Hoyle he incurred the enmity of the Nobel Committee?

    PiltdownCousins 1 & 2 are (older and still) working theoretical physicists, and half a dozen of the PiltdownCousins were physics majors or PhDs. PiltdownCousin1 was brought up alongside my (much older) brothers so there was a lot physics talk around the house when I was growing up. A big topic of discussion back in the 1960s was, indeed, why Gamow hadn’t received a Nobel for his work, until he died in 1968. He seemed to be that big, in their minds. I remember that clearly, as the little guy who used to tag along a large cohort of older male siblings and cousins.

    The Nobel nominations are unsealed after fifty years, and looking at the database now, I see that Gamow was nominated only twice, in the 1940s, by two physicists.

    That’s a surprise. From all that long ago talk I had the impression that he was nominated often, but that his moment passed him by.

    I strongly suspect, as you do, that there was a personality issue or some feud within the physics community. His work was far too fundamental for him to have received that few nominations, as we now know, in informed retrospect.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  161. Spangel says:
    @Jack D

    I’m certainly not claiming that mestizos are equal to asians or whites in likelihood to land on the far right tail of quantitative abilities, but their end of the right tail seems to basically approach that of other races. 2018 is just what happened last year, it’s not an example of every country’s best. Peru has produced Raul Chavez Saramiento recently-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%BAl_Ch%C3%A1vez_Sarmiento

    Seems that thus far, his rank order performance is better than terrence tao’s and overall performance is about as good. It wouldn’t exactly be surprising if he won a fields medal one day. We will see. And he’s neither white nor asian.

    If we compare this to blacks, Derbyshire did an analysis-

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/race-and-the-international-olympiad/

    Mestizos are not as good as whites or asians on average in terms of points per participant, but they are somewhere in the same ballpark. Blacks are like something else entirely. With a population of around 1 billion blacks around the world and the ability to sponsor in dozens of different teams (unlike the chinese, who get one team for their billion people nation), there seem to have been 3 black medalists in the last 20 years or so, and none of them gold.

    This is why only blacks have this issue of “cognitive nothingness” or total non existence on the far right tail of measured aptitude. Math ability can be objectively measured to a degree, but the same distribution issues appear to occur for other types of aptitude as well.

    • Replies: @candid_observer
  162. @Ibound1

    Yep. My doc retired and the HMO automatically assigned me a black woman. On her web page, where other docs mention research or medical fellowships, she tells us she took a course in effective insurance coding.

  163. Anon[324] • Disclaimer says:

    In physics projects like the search for dark matter are large research projects, more like engineering projects, where detectors are built and monitored. The is no great theoretical breakthrough required, just threshold competence, elbow grease, and patience. The Nobels will go to the top manager of each project, and many of these are women, although none has particularly advanced theoretical physics knowledge.

  164. @jim jones

    No more money for lawyers, uh-oh. As I learned from Bonfire of the Vanities, that’s when the bottom drops out.

  165. @Jack D

    Today’s totalitarians stand on the shoulders of giants. Look at all they’ve accomplished already, without the advantages that propelled previous totalitarians: the Bolsheviks took over a country defeated in war; the French Revolution came to a country that was broke; Hitler cashed in on defeat and humiliation.

  166. Dan Hayes says:
    @PiltdownMan

    PiltdownMan:

    Thanks for you comments regarding George Gamow.

    Another egregious example of Nobel Committee blackballing was that of Fred Hoyle which has been fairly well discussed.

    BTW, when Penzias & Wilson’s Nobel Prize was announced, the immediate comment by an acerbic Columbia astronomy prof was “why didn’t they give it to the guy who had predicted it?”.

  167. @Ibound1

    Medical care itself is going to start to get drastically worse and the Nobels will be the least of our worries.

    If my experiences with my parents’ years of declining health are any sort of bellwether, the decline of medical care is already well under way.

    Combining the presence of more and more marginally qualified practitioners at all levels with the economic pressures that drive staffing levels results in more mistakes. This is happening in an industry in which mistakes are unacceptable, and everything that can be done to minimize them must be done.

    Instead, as Ibound1 points out, the seemingly irresistible force of diversity is driving the selection process in the opposite direction of the best care possible by admitting the less competent

    This is not just happening at the MD level, but throughout the healthcare system.

  168. @Anonymous

    The Nobel prizes are probably as neutral and unbiased as its humanly possible to be.

    So walk us through exactly which accomplishments led Senator Obama to the Nobel Peace Prize?

    I have been studying that one for many years and still haven’t figured out what they were. 😉

    There is one proper woke solution to this Nobel Prize stuff.

    A check for three cents should be awarded to every dark-skinned person in the world for enhancing the planet through diversity.

    • Replies: @filbert
    , @PiltdownMan
  169. @SafeNow

    I hereby nominate The Bee Gees for the Prize in Medicine.

    It’s still three White guys…….lol

  170. filbert says:
    @Justvisiting

    Obaba won the Peace Prize to nudge US foreign policy. The organizers didn’t want the US to invade any more countries so they awarded it to Obama, who wasn’t actually the president at that point, He would then feel a bit guilty if he led the US on another invasion

    • LOL: d dan
  171. @Justvisiting

    I’m pretty sure he meant the science prizes, not the Norwegian Parliament’s peace prize, nor the Swedish Academy’s literature award.

    When you think about it, all things considered, it really is remarkable how consistently good they’ve been at recognizing scientific talent at the highest level—for so long.

  172. @Anatoly Karlin

    Yes, Hellenistic science is only in the early Hellenistic period, but only if you use a stupid definition of Hellenistic. The Hellenistic period is usually taken to end with Roman annexation which occurred at different times in different places. Pergamon was annexed in 133BC and that’s when Hellenistic science abruptly and mysteriously ended. Egypt wasn’t annexed until 30 BC, but science in Alexandria abruptly fell to civil war in 145BC. I think that’s when Egypt became a Roman client, which would make it only a small shift in the usual definition, but I’m not sure.

    You count people named by Murray, but what importance does he assign to them? I’ll do astronomy. He only lists two Hellenistic astronomers, Aristarchus and Hipparchus, for a score of 28+49=67, compared to classical Anaximander 9, Eudoxus 20, Heraclides 14, Meton 5, Philolaus 8, a total of 56. And he vastly underestimates the Hellenistic period by excluding Apollonius of the epicycle and Eratosthenes, each comparable to Eudoxus.

  173. @Spangel

    It’s also good to remember that the Inca civilization, which covered Peru, did develop some significant math and science.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca_Empire#Measures,_calendrics_and_mathematics

    I also gather that the rulers of that civilization were pretty much a caste apart, which would allow them to select for cognitive abilities beyond those of their peasant class.

    It’s entirely possible that some significant portion of today’s elite in Peru are primarily descended from those rulers.

  174. A Texan says:

    I will always be thankful for all that white male patriarchal oppression in the sciences. I like anti biotics, cold beer, air conditioning, gasoline, cars, planes and too many other things to list. Thank you awesome White European males.

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