Jury member says Nobel physics decision 'wrong'

Oct 09, 2013
European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists react after the annoucement of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics on October 8, 2013 in Meyrin near Geneva

The Nobel Prize in Physics should also have gone to the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, a member of the awarding committee said Wednesday.

"I think it's wrong," Anders Barany, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences told AFP, commenting after the decision Tuesday, which was delayed for an hour due to "a lot of discussion."

"I think those experimental researchers have done incredibly fantastic work and should be rewarded."

Peter Higgs of Britain and Francois Englert of Belgium won the Nobel Prize for Physics for theoretical work on a particle that explains why the Universe has substance.

The presumed particle was discovered last year by a mega-scale lab near Geneva operated by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), after a decades-long search.

Many had expected the lab to share the Nobel Prize, however it was only mentioned in a brief note accompanying the decision.

"This has never been done before. It's a fine recognition but I don't think it's enough," said Barany.

"It's too watered down, too little to be only mentioned in the text like that. I think it's very clumsy with that kind of text."

Although the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to organisations in the past, that has never occurred with the science prizes.

Explore further: A glance at secret process behind Nobel delay

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Disproselyte
1 / 5 (11) Oct 09, 2013
It is accepted today that there are only 4 distinct fundamental forces in nature (gravitation, electro-magnetism, strong & weak interaction).
The Higgs boson is mediating an interaction (leading to massive particles). To wich of the 4 fundamental classes does it belong?
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Oct 09, 2013
Probably more of a problem with the time at which the prize was founded. Back then individual (or very small group) science was the norm.

That has changed in quite a few areas today. Nevertheless I think the decision was correct. CERN has done outstanding work, no doubt, but it was distributed over thousands of people each contributing a bit.

The Nobel Prize is supposed to be for those breakthrough insights that transform a field - and that insight came from Higgs, Englert and Brout. They made a contribution far over and above what an 'average' scientist does in their lifetime. So they rightfully get the prize.

...and I'm sure Higgs and Englert themselves don't see the CERN crew as 'foot sloggers' who just did the dirty work so that they can get the laurels - but fully recognize their contribution.
brt
2.1 / 5 (12) Oct 09, 2013
It is accepted today that there are only 4 distinct fundamental forces in nature (gravitation, electro-magnetism, strong & weak interaction).
The Higgs boson is mediating an interaction (leading to massive particles). To wich of the 4 fundamental classes does it belong?


It's actually 3. Gravitation, electro-weak, and strong. Electromagnetic and weak are considered the same force. They were "unified" and a nobel prize or 2 was awarded for it.

The bosons that produce the effects of the 3 forces as a result of their interaction end up gaining their mass from the Higgs.
brt
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 09, 2013
Probably more of a problem with the time at which the prize was founded. Back then individual (or very small group) science was the norm.

That has changed in quite a few areas today. Nevertheless I think the decision was correct. CERN has done outstanding work, no doubt, but it was distributed over thousands of people each contributing a bit.

The Nobel Prize is supposed to be for those breakthrough insights that transform a field - and that insight came from Higgs, Englert and Brout. They made a contribution far over and above what an 'average' scientist does in their lifetime. So they rightfully get the prize.

...and I'm sure Higgs and Englert themselves don't see the CERN crew as 'foot sloggers' who just did the dirty work so that they can get the laurels - but fully recognize their contribution.


That, and I'm sure everyone working at CERN is just happy to have worked at CERN. I'd be giddy as a school girl if given notice that I was going to work there.
Doc Brown
Oct 09, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
brt
2.8 / 5 (18) Oct 09, 2013
http://www.reddit.com/user/zephir_fan is a pure spam. You can continue with it at reddit, where such a childish behavior belong. Reported.


If reporting spam did jack squat, then you would have been banned a long time ago you hypocritical dipshit.
discouragedinMI
1.2 / 5 (13) Oct 09, 2013
It's actually 3. Gravitation, electro-weak, and strong. Electromagnetic and weak are considered the same force. They were "unified" and a nobel prize or 2 was awarded for it.


Don't say that. You will only confuse the poor little undergraduates that we continue to tell this to in our introductory textbooks.
discouragedinMI
1 / 5 (15) Oct 09, 2013
Just more proof of how useless the Nobel Prize has become in the last 50 years. If it went away we would all be better off.
jalmy
1.1 / 5 (16) Oct 09, 2013

At the time I was tied up working on my anti-gravity Hoverboard venture and couldn't be bothered to attend the awards ceremonies. I didn't really need the money as my Delorean Time Machine was really taking off, both figuratively and literally.


Doc Brown didn't invent the Hoverboard. It was invented by someone at Mattel corp. If you are going to use a stupid movie persona, and talk in stupid movie jargon at least get the facts right.

As for this article. Of course the prize should go to Higgs. CERN wastes enough of the public's money already.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 09, 2013
Don't worry jigga. I'm sure that if LENR is real, the guy who figures out what is actually making it happen will be in line for the prize.

But believers are getting a little impatient. Defkalion, Rossi, MFMP, and others all claim big things but WHERE ARE THEY?

It doesn't take the govt to make one of these things and put it on a table somewhere for everybody to poke at. So far this type of access hasn't been provided. We want to see it. Now.

MFMP could make 20 of their reactors and send them all over for evaluation, as they are not looking to make a profit. Why don't they do that?
tadchem
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 09, 2013
For me the Nobel Prizes lost a lot of credibility when the 2009 Peace prize was awarded to an individual based on what was *expected* he might accomplish.
Zephir_fan
Oct 09, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Zephir_fan
Oct 09, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (2) Oct 10, 2013
@Zephir fan

yea imo he's a little off reality. But he keeps his talk clean and doesn't offend.

Might I by the way interest you in my dense vacuum particle-suction mechanism theory? It contains droplets at the water surface. It's gonna be a sure prize winner right after I have defaced mainstream science.
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Oct 10, 2013
anyhow, on the subject I tend to agree with Antialias P. today's science is often no longer the work of single scientists cooking up fantastic theories but an effort that includes thousands of people not limited to theorists but many students, engineers, IT staff, practical scientists, etc with without (with without?) each expertise we would not make it to the discovery of them higgsies and pixies.

So I expect if this trend continues the nobel prize might get outdated by trying to offer the prize to just a single or 2,3 scientists .

Nevertheless I think this one is well deserved although Higgs and Englert weren't the only ones theorizing the existence of a Higgs field in that time.
alfie_null
4 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2013
The Nobel prize was originally dedicated by Alfred Nobel to findings of practical importance, which the Higgs boson definitely isn't. The mainstream physics embezzles the Nobel's heritage in this way. For example the finding of cold fusion would deserve such a prize way way more.

In view of the way cold fusion is promoted by pseudo-science groupies here and elsewhere, it would be more correct to submit it for consideration for a Hugo or Nebula award.
JIMBO
not rated yet Oct 10, 2013
The Nobel committee has fucked up before, revealing flaws in the selection process that need to be cleaned up ASAP. They are treated like the US constitution, NCAA, or bible, as immutable & perfect when they are neither. Too many scientists have gotten screwed, over the Nobel bureaucracy.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 10, 2013
They are treated like the US constitution, NCAA, or bible, as immutable & perfect

By whom? They are a prize comittee. They are people. People make mistakes.

That said: they have a pretty good track record of giving prizes out to deserving scientists (not talking about the peace prize or the prizes for literature or economics...those are political/subjective as the quality of the work can't really be tested.)
Higgs and Englert certainly merit theirs.

While getting a Nobel Prize has its perks (I think you get your own parking space if you are a lecturer at Berkeley and have a Nobel Prize to your name) its not something that defines your scientific career (as mostly it is awarded many years later when your scientific career is already at its peak as a professor - or over)
baudrunner
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 12, 2013
While getting a Nobel Prize has its perks (I think you get your own parking space if you are a lecturer at Berkeley and have a Nobel Prize to your name) its not something that defines your scientific career (as mostly it is awarded many years later when your scientific career is already at its peak as a professor - or over)
gee, I don't think so. Nobel prizes most certainly define one's professional career. Recognition for perpetuity, for one thing.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2013
Late to the party. FWIW:

I think Anders is right. [Disclaimer: Anders Bárány is without doubt the best physics teacher I've had the fortune to have. But he is right anyway. =D]

@Disproselyte: I think you mean fundamental interactions, EM and weak interaction combine so are indistinct. (They do so by the Higgs field, by the way.)

The Higgs field has its own interaction force, a bit stronger than the weak but very similar in distance behavior. (See particle physicist Matt Strassler's blog for details.) It constitutes a new, 5th, fundamental interaction.

The Higgs force has no obvious consequences, same as the weak force. Both has vital consequences only from field interactions with other fields (weak interaction gives us important forms of radioactivity, Higgs interaction gives us that the proton instead of the neutron is the stable nucleon and so atoms).

@baudrunner: But AAP already noted that this most often comes after the career peaks.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2013
Nobel prizes most certainly define one's professional career. Recognition for perpetuity, for one thing.

Ya know: Having "recogition for perpetuity" is right about on the same level as "all that bling" and the "crazy adulation of teenage fans" when deciding whether you want to be a scientist.

A prize is nice. Recognition by your peers is nice...but that's not the reason why they do it.
Q-Star
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2013
The Higgs Fake: Alexander Unzicker Crackpot Extraordinaire.


Zephyr, I'm ashamed of ya, really now.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) Oct 16, 2013
It's actually 3. Gravitation, electro-weak, and strong. Electromagnetic and weak are considered the same force. They were "unified" and a nobel prize or 2 was awarded for it.


Don't say that. You will only confuse the poor little undergraduates that we continue to tell this to in our introductory textbooks.


You are forgetting that gravity isn't a force either ;-)