The Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science

The Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science

by Robert Marc Friedman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780716731030
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/2001
Edition description: REV
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.48(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.29(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Legendary Excellence

Part I: Permanent Battles Will Surely Be Waged for Every Prize
Launching the Nobel Enterprise, 1897-1914
Chapter 1: The Stupidest Use of a Bequest that I Can Imagine!
Securing Alfred Nobel's Vision
Chapter 2: Coming Apart at the Seams
Desperately Seeking Consensus in Chemistry
Chapter 3: Sympathy for an Area Closely Connected with My Own Specialty
Bias in Awarding the Physics Prize
Chapter 4: Each Nobel Prize Can Be Likened to a Swedish Flag
Excellence as Propriety and Prerogative

Part II: Has the Swedish Academy of Sciences...Seen Nothing, Heard Nothing, and Understood Nothing?
World War I, Biased Neutrality, and the End of a Nobel Dream
Chapter 5: Should the Nobel Prize be Awarded in Wartime?
The Cultural Politics of Neutrality, 1914-15
Chapter 6: While the Sores Are Still Dripping Blood!
Nobel Passions: Defending Kulture, 1916-19

Part III: Small Popes in Uppsala
Arrogance and Agenda: The Physics Prize, 1920-33
Chapter 7: Einstein Must Never Get a Nobel Prize
Keeping Physics Safe for Sweden
Chapter 8: To Sit on a Nobel Committee is Like Sitting on Quicksand
Disciplining and its Discontents
Chapter 9: Clamor in the Academy
Taking Charge of the Committee

Part IV: Don't Shoot the Piano Player, He's Doing the Best He Can
The Quest for a Nobel Standard in Chemistry, 1920-40
Chapter 10: It Can Happen that Pure Pettiness Enters
Out of Touch, Out of Depth: A Bewildered Chemistry Committee
Chapter 11: One Ought to Think the Matter Over Twice
Committee Renewal and Biochemical Bias

Part V: Scandalous Traffic
Subverting Nobel's Legacy in the Name of Science, 1933-51
Chapter 12: Dazzling Dialectics
Withholding Prizes, Reserving Judgment
Chapter 13: Completely Lacking an Unambiguous Objective Standard
Big Science and Diminutive Morals: The Authority of Prizes
Chapter 14: Knights Templar
Into the Age of Nobel "Geniuses" and the Banality of "Excellence"

Further Reflections

Notes and Sources

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