Society: Arts and Science – January 8

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.
Emily Greene Balch was born on this date in 1867. She was an American economist and writer. She became a Quaker and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Balch combined an academic career at Wellesley College with a long-standing interest in social issues such as poverty, child labour and immigration, as well as settlement work to uplift poor immigrants and reduce juvenile delinquency. She moved into the peace movement at the start of the World War I in 1914 and began collaborating with Jane Addams of Chicago. She refused to support the war effort when the United States entered the war in 1917 and lost her professorship at Wellesley College. In 1919, Balch played a central role in the International Congress of Women. It changed its name to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and was based in Geneva. She served the League as its first international Secretary-Treasurer, administering the organisation’s activities. She helped set up summer schools on peace education and created new branches in over 50 countries. She cooperated with the newly established League of Nations regarding drug control, aviation, refugees, and disarmament. In World War II, she favoured Allied victory and did not criticise the war effort, but did support the rights of conscientious objectors.
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was born on this date in 1891. He was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born. In 1913, he joined the newly created Laboratory for Radioactivity at the Reich Physical and Technical Institute (PTR), where he remained until 1930, the latter few years as the director of the laboratory. He served in the military during World War I from 1914, and he was a prisoner of war of the Russians, returning to Germany in 1920. Upon his return to the laboratory, he developed and applied coincidence methods to the study of nuclear reactions, the Compton effect, cosmic rays, and the wave-particle duality of radiation, for which he would receive the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954. In 1930 he became a full professor and director of the physics department at the University of Giessen. In 1932, he became director of the Physical and Radiological Institute at the University of Heidelberg. He was driven out of this position by elements of the Deutsche Physik movement. To preclude his emigration from Germany, he was appointed the director of the Physics Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research (KWImF) in Heidelberg. There, he built the first operational cyclotron in Germany. Furthermore, he became a principal in the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club, which was started in 1939 under the supervision of the Army Ordnance Office. In 1946, in addition to his directorship of the Physics Institute at the KWImf, he was reinstated as a professor at the University of Heidelberg. From 1956 to 1957, he was a member of the Nuclear Physics Working Group in Germany. In the year after Bothe’s death, his Physics Institute at the KWImF was elevated to the status of a new institute under the Max Planck Society and it then became the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics. Its main building was later named Bothe laboratory.
Melvin Ellis Calvin died on this date in 1997. He was an American chemist most famed for discovering the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He spent most of his five-decade career at the University of California, Berkeley.
Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov died on this date in 2002. He was a Soviet physicist known for his pioneering research on lasers and masers for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 with Charles Hard Townes and Nikolay Basov.