Society: Arts and Science – May 14


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.
Henri La Fontaine died on this date in 1943. He was a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.


Society: Arts and Science – May 6


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.
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck died on this date in 1949. He was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.
François Auguste Victor Grignard was born in Cherbourg on this date in 1871. He was a French chemist. Grignard was the son of a sail maker. After studying mathematics at Lyon he transferred to chemistry and discovered the synthetic reaction bearing his name (the Grignard reaction) in 1900. He became a professor at the University of Nancy in 1910 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1912. During World War I he studied chemical warfare agents, particularly the manufacture of phosgene and the detection of mustard gas. His counterpart on the German side was another Nobel Prize winning Chemist, Fritz Haber.


Society: Arts and Science – April 22


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.
Henri La Fontaine was born on this date in 1854. He was a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.
Róbert Bárány was born on this date in 1876. He was an Austro-Hungarian otologist. For his work on the physiology and pathology of the vestibular apparatus of the ear he received the 1914 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Emilio Gino Segrè diedn on this date in 1989. He was an Italian physicist and Nobel laureate who discovered the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton, a sub-atomic antiparticle, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959. Born in Tivoli, near Rome, Segrè studied engineering at the University of Rome La Sapienza before taking up physics in 1927. Segrè was appointed assistant professor of physics at the University of Rome in 1932 and worked there until 1936, becoming one of the Via Panisperna boys. From 1936 to 1938 he was Director of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Palermo. After a visit to Ernest O. Lawrence’s Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, he was sent a molybdenum strip from the laboratory’s cyclotron deflector in 1937 which was emitting anomalous forms of radioactivity. After careful chemical and theoretical analysis, Segrè was able to prove that some of the radiation was being produced by a previously unknown element, dubbed technetium, which was the first artificially synthesized chemical element which does not occur in nature. In 1938, Benito Mussolini’s fascist government passed anti-Semitic laws barring Jews from university positions. As a Jew, Segrè was now rendered an indefinite émigré. At the Berkeley Radiation Lab, Lawrence offered him a job as a Research Assistant. While at Berkeley, Segrè helped discover the element astatine and the isotope plutonium-239, which was later used to make the Fat man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. From 1943 to 1946 he worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a group leader for the Manhattan Project. He found in April 1944 that Thin Man, the proposed plutonium gun-type nuclear weapon would not work because of the presence of plutonium-240 impurities. In 1944, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. On his return to Berkeley in 1946, he became a professor of physics and of history of science, serving until 1972. Segrè and Owen Chamberlain were co-heads of a research group at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory that discovered the antiproton, for which the two shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics. Segrè was also active as a photographer, and took many photos documenting events and people in the history of modern science, which were donated to the American Institute of Physics after his death. The American Institute of Physics named its photographic archive of physics history in his honor.


Society: Arts and Science – April 6


Nobel Prizes are bestowed annually by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Jules Jean Baptiste Vincent Bordet died on this date in 1961. He was a Belgian immunologist and microbiologist. The bacterial genus Bordetella is named after him. In March 1916 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1930 delivered their Croonian Lecture. In this lecture, Bordet also concluded that bacteriophages “the invisible virus of Felix d’Herelle”,a self-taught microbiologist, did not exist and that it was bacteria themselves which produce the lytic principle. He was incorrect and Bacteriophage therapy was later recognised as an alternative and complementary treatment in the fight against bacterial infections, starting with the treatment of patients in Paris by Felix d’Herelle. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to him in 1919 for his discoveries relating to immunity.
James Dewey Watson was born on this date in 1928. He is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”. After studies at the University of Chicago (B.S., 1947) and Indiana University (Ph.D., 1950), Watson did postdoctoral research to absorb chemistry with the biochemist Herman Kalckar in Copenhagen. Watson next worked at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and friend Francis Crick. From 1956 to 1976, Watson was on the faculty of the Harvard University Biology Department, promoting research in molecular biology. From 1968 he served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on Long Island, New York, greatly expanding its level of funding and research. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer, along with making it a world leading research centre in molecular biology. In 1994, he started as president and served for 10 years. He was then appointed the chancellor, serving until 2007 when he resigned his position after making controversial comments claiming a link between intelligence and geographical ancestry. Between 1988 and 1992, Watson was associated with the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project. Watson has written many science books, including the textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968) about the DNA structure discovery, reissued in a new edition in 2012 – The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix edited by Alex Gann and Jan Witkowski.
Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen ForMemRS was born on this date in 1911. He was a German biochemist. In 1964 he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with Konrad Bloch for their discoveries concerning the mechanism and regulation of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism while he was director of the Max-Planck Institute for Cellular Chemistry in Munich.


Society: Arts and Science – March 28

Today is International Thanksgiving Day. Find a way to celebrate your life today…
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.
Aristide Briand was born on this date in 1862. He was a French statesman who served eleven terms as Prime Minister of France during the French Third Republic and was a co-laureate of the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize.
Corneille Jean François Heymans was born on this date in 1892. He was a Flemish physiologist. He studied at the prestigious Jesuit College of Sainte-Barbe after which he proceeded to Ghent University, where he obtained a doctor’s degree in 1920. Heymans was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1938 for showing how blood pressure and the oxygen content of the blood are measured by the body and transmitted to the brain. Heymans accomplished this by using two dogs, one of which was connected to its body only by nerves, and the second of which was used to cross-perfuse or supply blood to the first dog’s head. Heymans noted that the first dog’s upward and downward cardiovascular reflex arc traffic were carried by its own vagus nerves, and introduced to the second dog’s blood, which served the first dog’s brain, had no effect. He used a similar experiment to demonstrate the role of peripheral chemoreceptors in respiratory regulation, for which he received his Nobel Prize.
William Francis Giauque died on this date in 1982. He was an American chemist and Nobel laureate recognised in 1949 for his studies in the properties of matter at temperatures close to absolute zero. He spent virtually all of his educational and professional career at the University of California, Berkeley.




Society: Arts and Science – February 10

Today is International Thanksgiving Day. Find a way to celebrate your life today…
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.
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen died on this day in 1923 at the age of 78. He was a German physicist who produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range known today as X-rays or Röntgen rays. He earned the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. In honour of his accomplishments, in 2004 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) named element 111, roentgenium, a radioactive element with multiple unstable isotopes.
Ernesto Teodoro Moneta was born in Lombardy on this date in 1833. was an Italian journalist, nationalist, revolutionary soldier and pacifist. He adopted the motto In varietate unitas!. At age 15, Moneta participated in the “Five Days of Milan” (1848 uprising against Austrian rule). He later attended the military academy in Ivrea. In 1859 he joined Garibaldi’s Expedition of the Thousand, and also fought in the ranks of the Italian army against the Austrians in 1866. Subsequently, he became an international peace activist, despite his strong Italian nationalism. Between 1867 and 1896 he was editor of the Milan democratic paper Il Secolo, published by Edoardo Sonzogno. In 1887 he founded the Lombard Association for Peace and Arbitration (Unione Lombarda per la Pace e l’Arbitrato), which called for disarmament and envisaged the creation of a League of Nations. He won (with Louis Renault) the Nobel Peace Prize in 1907. In the last years of his life, however, Moneta’s Italian nationalism reasserted itself and got the better of his pacifism. He expressed public support for both the Italian Conquest of Libya in 1912 and Italy’s entry into the First World War in 1915.
John Franklin Enders was born on this date in 1897. He was an American biomedical scientist and Nobel laureate. Enders has been called “The Father of Modern Vaccines. In 1949, Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, and Frederick Chapman Robbins reported successful in vitro culture of an animal virus—poliovirus. The three received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discovery of the ability of polioviruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue”. Meanwhile, Jonas Salk applied the Enders-Weller-Robbins technique to produce large quantities of poliovirus and then developed a polio vaccine in 1952. Upon the 1954 polio vaccine field trial, whose success Salk announced on the radio, Salk became a public hero but failed to credit the many other researchers that his effort rode upon, and was somewhat shunned by America’s scientific establishment. In 1954, Enders and Peebles isolated the measles virus from an 11-year-old boy, David Edmonston. Disappointed by polio vaccine’s development and involvement in some cases of polio and death—what Enders attributed to Salk’s technique—Enders began development of measles vaccine. In October 1960, an Enders team began trials on 1,500 mentally retarded children in New York City and on 4,000 children in Nigeria. On 17 September 1961, New York Times announced the measles vaccine effective. Refusing credit for only himself, Enders stressed the collaborative nature of the effort. In 1963, Pfizer introduced a deactivated measles vaccine, and Merck & Co introduced an attenuated measles vaccine.
Walter Houser Brattain was born on this date in 1902. He was an American physicist at Bell Labs who, along with John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the transistor. They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention. Brattain devoted much of his life to research on surface states.
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born on this date in 1890. Hw was a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak’s first book of poems, My Sister, Life (1917), is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and William Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences. Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1958), a novel which takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Due to the novel’s independent-minded stance on the socialist state, Doctor Zhivago was rejected for publication in the USSR. At the instigation of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an event which both humiliated and enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which forced him to decline the prize, though his descendants were later to accept it in his name in 1988.
“Dominique” Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire was born on this date in 1910. He was a Belgian Dominican friar whose work helping refugees in post-World War II Europe saw him receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958. On Dec. 11, 1958, Pire delivered his Nobel Lecture entitled “Brotherly Love: Foundation of Peace.” After completing his studies Pire returned to the priory at La Sarte, in Huy, Belgium where he dedicated himself to helping poor families live according to their dignity. During the second world war, Pire served as chaplain to the Belgian resistance, actively participating in its activities, such as helping smuggle Allied pilots out of the country. He received several medals for this service after the war. In 1949, he began studying issues relating to postwar refugees (Displaced Persons [DP]) and wrote a book about them, entitled Du Rhin au Danube avec 60,000 DP. He founded an organisation to help them. The organisation established sponsorships for refugee families, and during the 1950s built a number of villages in Austria and Germany to help house many refugees. Although a Dominican friar, Dominique Pire always refused to mix his personal faith with his commitments on behalf of social justice, a decision that was not always understood by his religious superiors. After winning the Peace Prize, Pire also helped found a “Peace University” to raise global understanding. Later convinced that peace would not be achievable without the eradication of poverty, he founded “Islands of Peace”, an NGO dedicated to the long-term development of rural populations in developing countries. Projects were started in Bangladesh and India. He died at Louvain Roman Catholic Hospital on January 30, 1969, from complications following surgery. More than 30 years after his death, the four organisations he founded are still active. In 2008 a program was established in honour of his work at the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.




Society: Arts and Science – January 30

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.
Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger died in Copenhagen on this date in 1928. He was a Danish scientist, physician, and professor of pathological anatomy who won the 1926 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Fibiger had claimed to find an organism he called Spiroptera carcinoma that caused cancer in mice and rats. He received a Nobel prize for this discovery. Later, it was shown that this specific organism was not the primary cause of the tumours. Moreover, Katsusaburo Yamagiwa, only two years later in 1915 successfully induced squamous cell carcinoma by painting crude coal tar on the inner surface of rabbits’ ears. Yamagiwa’s work has become the primary basis for this line of research. Because of this, some question Fibiger’s Nobel Prize particularly because Yamagiwa did not receive the prize. Encyclopædia Britannica’s guide to Nobel Prizes in cancer research mentions Yamagiwa’s work as a milestone without mentioning Fibiger.”
Max Theiler was born on this date in 1899. He was a South African-American virologist and doctor. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever in 1937. Born in Pretoria, Theiler was educated in South Africa through completion of his degree in medical school. He went to London for post-graduate work at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, King’s College London and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, earning a 1922 diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene. That year he moved to the United States to do research at the Harvard University School of Tropical Medicine. He lived worked and lived in that nation the rest of his life. In 1930 he moved to the Rockefeller Institute in New York, becoming director of the Virus Laboratory.
John Bardeen died on this date in 1991. He was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. The transistor revolutionised the electronics industry, allowing the Information Age to occur, and made possible the development of almost every modern electronic device, from telephones to computers to missiles. Bardeen’s developments in superconductivity, which won him his second Nobel, are used in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) or its medical sub-tool magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In 1990, John Bardeen appeared on LIFE Magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential Americans of the Century.”
“Dominique” Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire died on this date in 1969. He was a Belgian Dominican friar whose work helping refugees in post-World War II Europe saw him receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958. On December 11, 1958, Pire delivered his Nobel Lecture entitled “Brotherly Love: Foundation of Peace.” After completing his studies Pire returned to the priory at La Sarte, in Huy, Belgium where he dedicated himself to helping poor families live according to their dignity. During the second world war, Pire served as chaplain to the Belgian resistance, actively participating in its activities, such as helping smuggle Allied pilots out of the country. He received several medals for this service after the war. In 1949, he began studying issues relating to postwar refugees (Displaced Persons [DP]) and wrote a book about them, entitled Du Rhin au Danube avec 60,000DP. He founded an organisation to help them. The organisation established sponsorships for refugee families, and during the 1950s built a number of villages in Austria and Germany to help house many refugees. Although a Dominican friar, Dominique Pire always refused to mix his personal faith with his commitments on behalf of social justice, a decision that was not always understood by his religious superiors. After winning the Peace Prize, Pire also helped found a “Peace University” to raise global understanding. Later convinced that peace would not be achievable without the eradication of poverty, he founded “Islands of Peace”, an NGO dedicated to the long-term development of rural populations in developing countries. Projects were started in Bangladesh and India. He died at Louvain Roman Catholic Hospital on January 30, 1969, from complications following surgery. More than 30 years after his death, the four organisations he founded are still active. In 2008 a program was established in honour of his work at the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.