Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Should we abandon our "mother-tongue"?, Part 4

In what language did these winners write -- Japanese, French... or English only?

[Perhaps the issue is not to use or not to use English Language in the teaching of Maths and Science but to radically improve instruction and the teaching of thinking. Multiple languages open multiple doors to cognition and alternate realities]

Nobel prize winners revealed

All this week, 'those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind' are being recognised.

The 2008 Nobel prize winners have been selected from 197 nominees, 16 more than last year and just short of the record of 199 set in 2005.

In recent decades US entrants have tended to dominate the science prizes - medicine, physics, chemistry - though last year Europeans prevailed.

Laureates receive 10m Swedish kronor (€1m) which can be split between up to three winners per prize.

Monday - Medicine

The Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to two French scientists who discovered the HIV virus and a German who found the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Luc Montagnier, director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and Prof Francoise Barré-Sinoussi of the Institut Pasteur shared half the award for their work on the HIV virus.
They isolated and cultured cells from patients with swollen lymph nodes characteristic of the early stage of acquired immune deficiency.

The award revived a long-running dispute between the two French scientists and Dr Robert Gallo of the US National Cancer Institute over who discovered and identified the virus.
When Dr Montagnier and Dr Francoise Barré-Sinoussi began their research in the early 1980s, a hitherto undocumented immune deficiency syndrome began striking down victims in the west.

Harald zur Hausen of the University of Duesseldorf was awarded the other half for work that went against the then current dogma as to the cause of cervical cancer.

He was recognised for research based on his idea that oncogenic human papilloma virus, or HPV, caused cervical cancer, the second most common cancer among women.

Tuesday - Physics
Two Japanese scientists and a Tokyo-born US citizen shared the 2008 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work in sub-atomic physics.

Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa were recognised for work that predicted the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature.

They laid the theoretical foundations for modern understanding of how the laws of physics differ for matter and anti-matter.

Yoichiro Nambu, now of the University of Chicago, was chosen for his discovery of the mechanism of 'spontaneous broken symmetry in sub-atomic physics'.

Prof Nambu is one of the leading figures in the development of modern particle physics and is known for making seminal contributions that introduced the concept of broken symmetry to the field.

Wednesday - Chemistry
Two US scientists and a Japanese researcher won the 2008 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Osamu Shimomura of Japan, and Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien were named for their discovery of the brightly glowing protein GFP.

Osamu Shimomura first isolated GFP from jellyfish drifting off the west coast of North America and discovered that the protein glowed bright green under ultraviolet light.

Dr Chalfie, a biology professor at Columbia University, picked up on the discovery to demonstrate the value of GFP as a luminous genetic tag for biological phenomena.

Roger Tsien, a professor at the University of California in San Diego, extended the colour palette beyond green, which allowed researchers to follow several different biological processes at the same time.
He was born in 1952.

Thursday - Literature
French novelist JMG Le Clézio was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature.
It was the first time since 1985 that a French writer won the Nobel literature prize.
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, 68, was born in Nice to a mother of Breton origin and a father who was at least nominally British.

His first novel, Le Procès-Verbal (published in English as 'The Interrogation'), was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt and awarded the Prix Renaudot in 1963.

Friday - Peace
Finland's former president Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Ahtisaari has had a long career of peace mediation work including a 2005 accord between Indonesia and rebels in its Aceh province.

He was also a member, with South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, of the Northern Ireland international arms inspectors, appointed in 2000 to verify IRA weapons decommissioning.

Monday - Economics

Paul Krugman of US won the 2008 Nobel Economics Prize.

The Nobel jury said that Prof Krugman had been honoured for 'analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity'.

Prof Krugman, 55, has formulated a new theory that determines the effects of free trade and globalisation as well as the driving forces behind worldwide urbanisation, the citation said.

Alfred Nobel

Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel created the Nobel prizes in his will in 1895, bequeathing his fortune to a fund that would honour 'those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.'

He decreed that the bulk of his estate, derived mainly from his invention of dynamite in 1866, should be invested in 'safe securities'.

As a result, after Alfred Nobel died in San Remo in Italy in 1896, some 31.5m Swedish kronor, or about €155m, were used to create the Nobel Foundation.
Nobel's will specified that the prizes be divided into five equal arts, apportioned as follows for the physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace prizes.

'One part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.'

But when Nobel died childless and the will was read, the contents surprised many, including his own family.
The document was challenged by two nephews who tried to have it declared null and void, and even King Oscar II of Sweden opposed Nobel's wishes, saying they were not 'patriotic minded'.

Adding to the confusion, Nobel had not appointed an executor for the testament, nor had he consulted the various institutions he had assigned to award the prizes to ensure that they were willing to undertake the task.
After more than three years of haggling, the Nobel Foundation was created to manage the capital in Nobel's estate and the five institutions agreed to award the prizes as Nobel had wished.

Since 1901, the year the first Nobel prizes were awarded, the Foundation has funded the prestigious awards created by their namesake.

The Nobel Prize for Economics, the only award not included in Nobel's will, is funded by the Swedish Central Bank, which created the prize at its tercentenary in 1968.
It was first awarded in 1969.

SOURCE: http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/1009/nobelwinners.html

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