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Nobel Prize

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Going back to before the Larry Summers’ whoop-tee-do in 2005, I’ve been pointing out that the three hard science Nobels deserve admiration for not caving in to our culture’s demands for diversity. The media, in contrast, mostly ignored it the demographics of Nobel winners because the prestige of the Nobels might undermine the Narrative.

This year, however, the NobelsSoWhiteMale mindset finally kicked in. For example, from Scientific American:

Once Again, No Female Nobel Winners in Science

Including the zero honored this year, there have been just 17 in the history of the prizes. Why so terribly few?
By Christophe André on October 4, 2017

Nearly 2,500 years ago, the Egyptian mathematician and philosopher Hypatia was stoned in public by order of the Bishop of Alexandria.

Teh-Genius Coates has FDR’s redlining 80 years ago as his all-purpose explanation for African American underperformance (such as Coates’ writings), but now we’ve got an even more antiquarian excuse: Hypatia! Of course, Scientific American’s math is off by about 900 years. Hypatia died in 415 A.D, which was 1,602 years ago, not “nearly 2,500 years ago.” (But who can keep BCE and CE straight?)

Similarly, from Slate:

Nobel Prizes Should Reward Science, Not Scientists
The current system has a long history of sexism and racism. Reforming the prizes requires reinvention.

By Devang Mehta

… This brings me to my second objection: the fact that the prizes have a long history of sexism and racism. Every high-school and undergraduate biology student has heard of Francis Crick and James Watson, the Nobel Prize–winning discoverers of the structure of DNA. How many know that their work was possible only due to data collected by Rosalind Franklin, a more meticulous scientist whose data was shared with the prize-winners without her permission? Franklin was never even nominated for the prize.

Well, she died in spring 1958, more than 4 years before Crick and Watson’s Nobel Prize, and the rules for Nobels say they can’t be posthumous awards. Anyway, I’d say we’re rapidly approaching the point at which more high school students have heard about Rosalind Franklin as the “Real Discoverer of DNA” than those horrible racist sexist frauds Crick and Watson.

The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science
They distort the nature of the scientific enterprise, rewrite its history, and overlook many of its most important contributors.

ED YONG OCT 3, 2017

… Rubin and Franklin point to another longstanding issue with the Nobels. In as much as they propagate the myth of the lone genius, that lone genius is almost always white and male. Women have won just 12 of the 214 prizes in physiology or medicine, just 4 of the 175 prizes in chemistry, and just 2 of the 204 prizes in physics. The most recent female physics laureate, Maria Goeppert Mayer, won her prize 54 years ago.

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For Peace Prize punters, here are the latest odds fr0m For some reason, I don’t see Clock Boy’s name on the Peace Prize list, although I had him down as a sure bet for the Physics Nobel for inventing Time, so what do I know?

Dr. Mukwege sounds like he’d be a worthy winner. From Wikipedia:

Denis Mukwege (born 1 March 1955) is a Congolese gynecologist. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces. Mukwege has become the world’s leading expert on how to repair the internal physical damage caused by gang rape.

Mukwege has treated thousands of women who were victims of gang wartime rape since the Second Congo War, some of them more than once, performing up to 10 surgeries a day during his 18-hour working days.

Speaking of gang rape, how about Alexis Jay, who wrote the 2014 Rotherham Report that finally broke the omerta in England?

Mussie Zerai is an Eritrean priest who helps organize the Camp of the Saints, even though there’s no war in Eritrea. Speaking of the Camp of the Saints, how about Jean Raspail for giving us a 42-years to prepare? Granted, we totally frittered it away, but still …

You’ve probably heard of Angela Merkel.

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By the time you’ll read this, you’ll probably know who won, but it’s fun to look at old odds. How well did the prediction markets work out this time, Professor Hanson?

For some reason, I don’t see Ta-Nehisi Coates on the list, but then I had him down for Medicine/Physiology for being the world’s leading expert on Black Bodies, so what do I know?

For the Literature Prize, it looks like there’s a Year of the Woman thing going on.

“Sorry, old man. Because of the weak imagery, scanty plot, and pedestrian language in your latest, we’ve turned your table over to Joyce Carol Oates.” William Hamilton, The New Yorker, early to mid-1970s

Joyce Carol Oates is an excellent writer but she’s highly prolific, which usually counts as a detriment in winning the Nobel. And she has been publishing books since 1963. American authors usually don’t win lifetime achievement awards, since they don’t lack for opportunities for publicity. To win, they’re usually expected to sober up and write something better than their recent stuff, like The Old Man and Sea helped Hemingway garner his gong.

I haven’t heard a theory about why Oates is so highly ranked this year, but I’ll make up one: giving her the award would strike a blow against the male-biased notion that important writers should write important books that stand out. Oates would represent all the productive female novelists who write lots and lots of novels without a lot of drama about Promethean ambitions.

That’s probably not the worst theory in the world for justifying a Nobel.

Or maybe she’s near the top because she’s on Twitter? (Here are the Nobel candidate’s sensible tweets on Donald Sterling.)

Or maybe sozzled English punters keep hearing from America about the transcendent literary importance of Ta-Nehisi Coates and thinking, reasonably enough, that the Americans must be referring to Joyce Carole Oates? Coates, Oates, let’s call the whole thing off …

Dwight Garner of the NYT would like to see win J.P. Donleavy, who, amazingly enough, is still alive 60 years after publishing The Ginger Man, a novel that inspired everybody from Hunter S. Thompson to Colin Quinn to take up drunkenness as the key to being a Celtic bard.

Obviously, the Literature Award is a near total-crapshoot because how valid are opinions on literary merit across multiple languages? But, if the Nobel Committee wants to be relevant, the novelist who has dominated 2015 is this guy.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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