Nobel Prize Controversy

When the Nobel Prize Laureates are announces it sometimes creates controversy. Most often it is The Nobel Peace Prize that creates the most controversy and there are a couple of reasons for this. We are reminded of all existing conflicts and inequalities. There is also different ideas about what Alfred Nobel meant with his will and how it should be interpreted. There is also controversy regarding who chooses the Laureates.  According to the will Nobel wanted the prize to be given to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind” and “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”. Read full text of Alfred Nobel’s will.

Some of the Peace Prize Laureates from the couple of last years’ are Liu Xiaobo (2010), Barack Obama (2009) and Al Gore (2008) have been critized. Xiaobo for being oscure and unknown among the Chinese youth, Obama for getting too soon and not yet deserving of the Prize and Gore for his work with environmental questions cannot be related to a conflict.

Even the other Nobel Prizes create controversy. Just a couple of days ago a stem cell pioneer sued the Nobel committee for its statement why the Nobel Medicine Prizes is awarded Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain. There are even some Laureates who have declined the prize more or less because of their own will. In 1937 Adolf Hitler forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prizes because the Peace Prize was awarded Carl von Ossietzky, a German writer who openly critized Adolf Hitler. The ban affected three other German researchers. They did receive their certificate and medal later. You could also do what Jean Paul Sartre says has done: decline the prize because an author should not allow himself/herself become an institution. Nevertheless, he wanted to get the prize money. Or you could do what most of the Nobel laureates do: accept the prize as a recogonition of a lifetime achievement.

Text: Pieta Eklund

The nobelprizes 2012 and our collection.

In the University Library in Borås, you can find articles in Summon by all this year’s prizewinners in:

Physics:  Serge Haroche  and David J. Wineland

Chemistry: Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka

Fysiology or Medicine: Shinya Yamanaka and John B. Gurdon

Economics: Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley

The articles featured here are all available in full text. You may need to identify yourself with your log on credentials to get access to the articles. Please contact the library if you are having trouble.

You can also search for free articles by the scientist in Wiley Online Library (this is just one place to look for free materials). Just search for the author and then identify the ones that are freely avaible with this symbol:


Or take a look at this page from ScienceDirect, they’ve listed their articles with free access of this years nobelprize winners.

There are also a lot of youtube lectures and other materials about the prizewinners.

For example a physics tv-show with David J. Wineland titled Physics for the 21st Century: David Wineland: The Quantum World Single Ion Clocks.

Two lectures by Robert J. Lefkowitz titeled Seven Transmembrane Receptors and  Beta arrestines.  

A lecture by Shinya Yamanaka from 2011.

Alvin E. Roths lecture with the title What Have We Learned from Market Design

There are also interviews like this one with John B. Gurdon.

You can read a lot more on the official Nobelprize website.

Text: Lisa Carlson