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OTHER ITA SITES:
Nobel Prizes Awarded; Alfred Nobel Excluded
As the world indulges in another reverent obeisance to the Nobel Prize and its genuinely laudable recipients, we should take a moment to observe that Alfred Nobel has been excluded.
What? Have you noticed that the prizes in science go with reliable regularity to very deserving academic researchers but, as W. S. Gilbert would say, ‘Never," "What never?" "Well, hardly ever!" to an independent inventor.
Far be it from us to protest the wonderfully groundbreaking academic researchers who almost always win the Prize. But a bit of fairness really ought to apply, especially since the list of great inventors who have not gotten the prize is a bit incriminating. We find among them the unfortunates Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brothers.
Does that mean that Alfred Nobel, who was the proud owner of some 355 patents, couldn't qualify for his own prize? This unlikely comeuppance certainly appears to be the reality.
Why? Unwitting Al, while he was careful to describe just what kind of achievement should merit each prize, neglected to state who would decide on the recipients.
The decision-making has long defaulted to the Karolinska Institute, where conscientious academics labor to determine which other academics merit the prize.
So it becomes understandable why the Swedish inventor's society, known as the Idee' Forum, frequently takes the Nobel Prize Committee to task. But the smug folks at the Karolinska are unimpressed. Their position is that, since inventors often own patents, they make enough money without the $1.3MM accolade.
So, when you earn enough to endow an award, make sure you spell out exactly who should award it or you may end up as undeserving of your own prize as Al Nobel and his ilk have turned out to be of the Nobel Prize.
But what's perfect? Even given the prejudice against the founder, it's still neat to have the annual extravaganza of tribute to intellectual achievement.
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