Society: Arts and Science – April 15


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Johannes Stark was born on this date in 1874. He was a German physicist. In 1919, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “discovery of the Doppler effect in canal rays and the splitting of spectral lines in electric fields” (the latter is known as the Stark effect). He was closely involved with the Deutsche Physik movement under the Nazi regime.
Nikolay Nikolayevich Semyonov, ForMemRS was born on this date in 1896. He was a Russian/Soviet physicist and chemist. Semyonov was awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the mechanism of chemical transformation.
Jean-Paul-Charles-Aymard Sartre died on this date in 1980. He was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism. His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines. Sartre has also been noted for his open relationship with the prominent feminist theorist Simone de Beauvoir. Together, Sartre and de Beauvoir challenged the cultural and social assumptions and expectations of their upbringings, which they considered bourgeois, in both lifestyle and thought. The conflict between oppressive, spiritually destructive conformity (mauvaise foi, literally, “bad faith”) and an “authentic” way of “being” became the dominant theme of Sartre’s early work, a theme embodied in his principal philosophical work Being and Nothingness (L’Être et le Néant, 1943).[7] Sartre’s introduction to his philosophy is his work Existentialism and Humanism (L’existentialisme est un humanisme, 1946), originally presented as a lecture. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying that he always declined official honours and that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution”.