This was a topic of debate that my two sons and I kicked around the other night in one of our frequent turn-down-the-TV-watch-the-game-and-talk-about
-anything living room sessions.
We had somehow gotten on to the topic of the Nobel Prizes. Briefly, the prize categories, which have been awarded annually since 1901, are Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, and Economics (added 1968). Winners receive a gold medal, a diploma, and a cash sum (varies annually, currently averaging about
US $ 350,000), attend a banquet, and get to make a speech.
Incidentally, it has been historically reported, in gossipy fashion as I learned in researching for this thread, that Alfred Nobel intentionally excluded Mathematics from his original prizes because "... rumors suggest that the decision might have had something to do with a secret affair between Nobel's lover and a famous mathematician, but this remains speculative." Maybe that "adds up," who knows?
But, anyway, the idea that came up as we talked was that maybe Medicine should be broken down into the following TWO categories instead of the current one:
The Nobel Prize for Applied Medicine
The Nobel Prize for Research in Medicine
The differences between these two, newly proposed, categories are obvious, and the question then becomes: is this a significant enough difference that these two categories should now be created to replace the currently existing single category?
Of course the "Applied" award would include things like: a new surgery technique, a new medication, discoveries in practical treatment of disease, finding the cure for a major disease, and such.
And the "Research" award for things like: new theories of disease, new insights into disease progression, identifying new disease microorganisms, and the like.
Should this change be made? Well, my boys and I did what we usually do in these debates we have, one or two of us taking one side, and the other arguing for the other side, like a law school debate.
Here's what we came up with:
IN FAVOR OF TWO PRIZES: Opportunity to recognize more people doing good work in medicine. Showing appreciation of the value of both of these areas of medicine. Encouraging more people to go into medicine, with now greater opportunity to win a Nobel.
OPPOSED TO TWO PRIZES: Why alter tradition? This may lead to too many categories, diluting the prestige of the Nobels. As important as medicine is, this move would create two prizes for a single area of knowledge, while the other areas have only one.
There are already lots of articles out there about
adding new Nobel categories or modifying existing ones, and lots of both support and opposition for doing so.
Technically, changes in the number of or categories of prizes can be made, with suggested changes submitted to the Board of the Nobel Foundation. Here's an example of a current movement to add a new category. (Whether one agrees that this particular example is serious or frivolous, it does indicate that the Nobel Prize structure is dynamic, or at least potentially so):https://www.change.org/p/petition-for-the-creation-of-a-new-nobel-prize-for-the-fight-against-climate-change
Indeed, while we're at it, how about
a Nobel Prize for Cancer Treatment and Research? Or maybe there could be a special subcategory under Medicine for that.
The person who discovers the cure for PCa would surely be a prime candidate for award of that
(BTW, the three of us significantly disagreed on the award in Literature to Bob Dylan in 2016, my older boy calling it a joke, the younger one saying it was deserved. I impishly then suggested that maybe there should have been a Nobel Prize for Pop Culture, and Dylan could have easily won in that category. <grin>).
So, should there be two Nobels in Medicine as suggested above, or is the current one category enough? Opinions?
BTW, if you've ever wanted to suggest a new category of Nobel Prize, either humorously (Nobel Prize for Pop Culture) or seriously (Nobel Prize for ... you name it ...), feel free to post about
it below. Now's your chance!
Chronic prostatitis (age 60 on)
BPH w/ urinary obstruction, 6/2011
Ongoing high PSA, 7/2011-12/2011
Biopsy, 12/2011: positive 3/12 (90%, 70%, 5%)
Gleason 6(3+3), T1c
No mets, PCa likely still organ contained
IMRT w/ HT (Lupron), 4/2012-6/2012
PSAs (since post-IMRT): 0.1 or lower