Archive for October 1, 2018

Nobel Prize for Physics Matters

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on October 1, 2018 by telescoper

I’ve been a bit tied up writing lecture notes and participating in telecons today, so I’ve just got time for a little post to mention that tomorrow morning (October 2nd 2018) will see the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.

I do, of course, already have a Nobel Prize of my own, dating from 2006, when I was lucky enough to attend the prize-giving ceremony and banquet.

I was, however, a guest of the Nobel Foundation rather than a prizewinner, so my medal is made of chocolate rather than gold. Still, it was a very nice weekend!

I have no idea who will win the Physics Nobel Prize tomorrow. If you have any suggestions please put then forward through the comments box.

I’d say there’s an outside chance that there might be an award for the discovery of exoplanets, as that has certainly altered humanity’s perception of its place in the Universe. It’s by no means obvious to me who should win it, however. Possibilities are Possible winners include Didier Queloz, Aleksander Wolszczan, Dale Frail, and Michel Mayor, but which? It may also be too soon after the gravitational waves prize last year. Perhaps it’s time for something less exotic this year? To find out you’ll have to wait for the announcement, around about 10.45 (UK/Irish time) tomorrow morning.

Anyway, for the record, I’ll reiterate my opinion that while the Nobel Prize is flawed in many ways, particularly because it no longer really reflects how physics research is done, it does at least have the effect of getting people talking about physics. Surely that at least is a good thing?

UPDATE: And the winner is…

One half to Arthur Askey Ashkin, and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland, for “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.”

So there are you are. The rumours were, as usual, completely wrong.

Oh, and Donna Strickland is the first woman to win the physics Nobel since Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963. Congratulations to her, and indeed to all this year’s winners!