Society: Arts and Science – September 26


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.
Niels Ryberg Finsen died on this day in 1904. He was a Faroese physician and scientist of Icelandic descent. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1903 “in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born on this date in 1849. He was a Russian physiologist known primarily for his work in classical conditioning. From his childhood days Pavlov demonstrated intellectual brilliance along with an unusual energy which he named “the instinct for research”. Inspired by the progressive ideas which D. I. Pisarev, the most eminent of the Russian literary critics of the 1860s and I. M. Sechenov, the father of Russian physiology, were spreading, Pavlov abandoned his religious career and decided to devote his life to science. In 1870 he enrolled in the physics and mathematics faculty at the University of Saint Petersburg to take the course in natural science. Ivan Pavlov devoted his life to the study of physiology and sciences, making several remarkable discoveries and ideas that were passed on from generation to generation. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904.
Archibald Vivian “A. V.” Hill CH OBE FRS was born on this date in 1886. He was an English physiologist, one of the founders of the diverse disciplines of biophysics and operations research. He shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his elucidation of the production of heat and mechanical work in muscles.
Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn ForMemRS was born on this date in 1886. He was a Swedish physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1924 “for his discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy”. Siegbahn was born in Örebro, Sweden. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Lund University in 1911, his thesis was titled Magnetische Feldmessungen (magnetic field measurements). He was acting professor for Johannes Rydberg when his health was failing, and succeeded him as full professor in 1920. Following his Ph.D., he started research on X-ray spectroscopy. This work continued when he moved to the University of Uppsala in 1923. He developed improved experimental apparatus which allowed him to make very accurate measurements of the X-ray wavelengths produced by atoms of different elements. He developed a convention for naming the different spectral lines that are characteristic to elements in X-ray spectroscopy, the Siegbahn notation. Siegbahn’s precision measurements drove many developments in quantum theory and atomic physics. In 1937, Siegbahn was appointed Director of the Physics Department of the Nobel Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1988 this was renamed the Manne Siegbahn Institute (MSI). The institute research groups have been reorganized since, but the name lives on in the Manne Siegbahn Laboratory hosted by Stockholm University. Siegbahn married Karin Högbom 1914. They had two children: Bo Siegbahn (1915–2008), a diplomat and politician, and Kai Siegbahn (1918–2007), a physicist, who also received the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1981, for his contribution to the development of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.His wife died in 1972. He won the Hughes Medal 1934 and Rumford Medal 1940. In 1944, he patented the Siegbahn pump.
Leopold Ružička ForMemRS died on this date in 1976. He was a Croatian scientist and winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry who worked most of his life in Switzerland. He received eight honoris causa doctorates in science, medicine, and law; seven prizes and medals; and twenty-four honorary memberships in chemical, biochemical, and other scientific societies.
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM was born on this date in 1888. He was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets”. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to an old Yankee family. He emigrated to England in 1914, settling, working and marrying there. He was eventually naturalised as a British subject in 1927, renouncing his American citizenship. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930), and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.