Society: Arts and Science – May 21

Today is International Thanksgiving Day! A day to celebrate your life in a special way…

Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. In 1895, the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Charles Albert Gobat was born on this day in 1843. He was a Swiss lawyer, educational administrator, and politician who jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with Élie Ducommun in 1902 for their leadership of the Permanent International Peace Bureau.
Louis Renault was born on this date in 1843. He was a French jurist and educator, the co-winner in 1907 (with Ernesto Teodoro Moneta) of the Nobel Prize for Peace. Renault was born at Autun. From 1868 to 1873 Renault was a professor of Roman and commercial law at the University of Dijon. From 1873 until his death he was a professor in the faculty of law at the University of Paris, where in 1881 he became a professor of international law. In 1890 he was appointed jurisconsult of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post created for him in which he scrutinised French foreign policy in the light of international law. He served at numerous conferences in this capacity, notably at the two Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) and the London Naval Conference of 1908-09. Renault was prominent as an arbitrator, his more famous cases including the Japanese House Tax case of 1905, the Casa Blanca Case of 1909, the Sarvarkar Case of 1911, the Carthage case of 1913, and the Manouba case of 1913. Among his writings are articles and monographs on the specialised topics of international law. Together with his friend and colleague C. Lyon-Caen, he produced several works on commercial law, including a compendium in two volumes, a treatise in eight volumes, and a manual that ran to many editions. In 1879 Renault published his Introduction to the Study of International Law and in 1917, First Violations of International Law by Germany, concerning the invasion of Belgium and of Luxembourg in breach of Germany’s treaty obligations.
Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois was born on this date in 1851. He was a French statesman. His ideas influenced the Radical Party regarding a wide range of issues. He promoted progressive taxation such as progressive income taxes and social insurance schemes, along with economic equality, expanded educational opportunities, and cooperatives. In foreign policy, he called for a strong League of Nations, and the maintenance of peace through compulsory arbitration, controlled disarmament, economic sanctions, and perhaps an international military force. Following World War I, he became President of the Council of the League of Nations and won the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
Willem Einthoven was born on this date in 1860. He was a Dutch doctor and physiologist. He invented the first practical electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) in 1903 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1924 for it.
James Franck died on this date in 1964. He was a German physicist and Nobel laureate. He completed his PhD in 1906 and received his venia legendi, or Habilitation, for physics in 1911, both at the University of Berlin, where he lectured and taught until 1918, having reached the position of extraordinarius professor. Franck served as a volunteer in the German Army during World War I. He was seriously injured in 1917 in a gas attack and he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Franck became the Head of the Physics Division of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft for Physical Chemistry. In 1920, Franck became an ordinarius professor of experimental physics and Director of the Second Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Göttingen. While there he worked on quantum physics with Max Born, who was Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. In 1925, Franck received the Nobel Prize in Physics, mostly for his work in 1912–1914, which included the Franck–Hertz experiment, an important confirmation of the Bohr model of the atom. In 1933, after the Nazis came to power, Franck resigned his post in Germany in a letter which he sent to the press for publication. He assisted Frederick Lindermann in helping dismissed Jewish scientists in finding work overseas, before he left Germany in November 1933 to continue his research in the United States, first at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and then, after a year in Denmark, in Chicago. It was there that he became involved in the Manhattan Project during World War II; he was Director of the Chemistry Division of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He was also the chairman of the Committee on Political and Social Problems regarding the atomic bomb; the committee consisted of himself and other scientists at the Met Lab, including Donald J. Hughes, J. J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, J. C. Stearns and Leó Szilárd. The committee is best known for the compilation of the Franck Report, finished on 11 June 1945, which recommended not to use the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities, based on the problems resulting from such a military application. Following the end of the war, repelled by the use of the atomic bomb he changed his field of research to photosynthesis. When Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and James Franck in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from stealing them. He placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. After the war, he returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The Nobel Society then recast the Nobel Prizes using the original gold.
Jane Addams died on this date in 1935. She was a pioneer American settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognised as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognised as the founder of the social work profession in the United States.