The Beginnings of the Nobel Institution: The Science Prizes, 1901-1915

The Beginnings of the Nobel Institution: The Science Prizes, 1901-1915

by Elisabeth T. Crawford
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0521265843

ISBN-13: 9780521265843

Pub. Date: 11/01/1984

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The Nobel Prizes have long been the most prestigious awards in the world of science. Established according to the wishes expressed in the will of Alfred Nobel (1895), the annual awards began in 1901. The Nobel Archives preserve the detailed study of the inner workings of the prize committees, and the archival documents, available for historical research since 1974,

Overview

The Nobel Prizes have long been the most prestigious awards in the world of science. Established according to the wishes expressed in the will of Alfred Nobel (1895), the annual awards began in 1901. The Nobel Archives preserve the detailed study of the inner workings of the prize committees, and the archival documents, available for historical research since 1974, open the door to important new scholarship in the history and sociology of the prizes. Elisabeth Crawford was one of the first to gain access to the Nobel Archives at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and in this book she analyzes the early history of the prizes in physics and chemistry. Crawford sets out in detail the story of the intricate inner workings of the process whereby the prizewinners were selected. A fascinating picture of the contemporary international scientific establishment emerges, one shedding light on how the developing Nobel institution became enmeshed in speciality and other networks, notably those of Arrhenius and Mittag-Leffler, the two Swedish scientists who were best known internationally at the time. While the general development of disciplines and the standing of scientists in international and national communities heavily influenced the selection process, the cases presented in this book show that the specific choices of specialities, discoveries, and people to be honored were determined by the Swedish participants in the process. The question of how, after some initial uncertainties, the Nobel Prizes became synonymous with the highest achievements in science and culture is also addressed. This detailed study of the birth of what have become science's highest accolades will interest historians and scientists alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521265843
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/01/1984
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.06(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Introduction1
1Precursors to the Nobel prizes in the sciences10
2Developments in Swedish and international science having a bearing on the Nobel institution30
3Implementing the will of Alfred Nobel, 1896-190060
4An overview of the nominating system and its influence on the prize decisions87
5Networks at work in the prize selections: Arrhenius and Mittag-Leffler109
6Committee decision making150
7The prizes, the public, and the scientific community188
Epilogue and conclusions211
Appendixes
A.Provisions in the will of Alfred Nobel establishing the prizes217
B.The statutes of the Nobel Foundation and the special regulations concerning the distribution of prizes from the Nobel Foundation by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences219
C.Members of the Nobel Committees for Physics and Chemistry elected 1900-1915236
D.Nobel prizewinners in physics and chemistry, 1901-1915238
A note on sources and notes242

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