I tried to find a common denominator. One thing that strikes out a mile is the age of the winners. And in most cases, more and more often, their main discovery was made many years ago, even though Alfred Nobel asked that the discovery was made in the year preceding the Prize.
Now we know that the modern discoveries must be repeated and verified many times, by many people. And additionally, the God Particle had to be found and the third participant of the hypotheses, Robert Brout, did not live until this, he died a year earlier in the age of 83. And there were Prizes (I remember, a few years ago) when the discoverer, rather oldish, did not actually remember what the important thing that he did was.
And one more thing: about the hermetism of the language of science. Reportedly, when the journalists listened to the laudation after awarding the Prize in Physiology and Medicine, they were not able to ask any reasonable question. Because it is only one of the prizes (except for Alice Munro’s) of which I know something – this incapacity of journalists is to my astonishment. But I am an animal physiologist by profession, so something has still left in my head.
I am wondering, if it was really impossible to find Peter Higgs in order to notify him of the Prize? And if he lives in Edinburgh, he cannot start his interviews from the traditional words: “My wife woke me up in the middle of the night that they’re calling from Stockholm. I was sure it was a stupid joke of my colleagues…”
Prof. dr hab. Magdalena Fikus
Professor of molecular biology, a lecturer at many prestigious universities and a prominent science populariser. The co-creator, co-organiser and for many years the chairwoman of the Programme Board of the Science Festival in Warsaw. A member of the EUSCEA international association, the chairwoman of the Science Promotion Council at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. A member of the CSC Programme Board since the foundation of the Copernicus Science Centre.