Society: Arts and Science – April 23


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.
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, FRS was born on this date in 1858. He was a German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame rests primarily on his role as originator of the quantum theory. This theory revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes, just as Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized the understanding of space and time. Together they constitute the fundamental theories of twentieth century physics.
Charles Gates Dawes died on this date in 1951. He was an American banker and politician who was the 30th Vice President of the United States (1925–1929). For his work on the Dawes Plan for World War I reparations he was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925. Dawes served in the First World War, was the Comptroller of the Currency, the first director of the Bureau of the Budget, and, in later life, the Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger was born in Silkeborg on this date in 1867. 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 tumors. 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 consider Fibiger’s Nobel Prize to be undeserved 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.
Roger Martin du Gard was born on this date in 1881. He was a French author and winner of the 1937 Nobel Prize for Literature. Trained as a paleographer and archivist, Martin du Gard brought to his works a spirit of objectivity and a scrupulous regard for detail. Because of his concern with documentation and with the relationship of social reality to individual development, he has been linked with the realist and naturalist traditions of the 19th century. His major work was The Thibaults, a multi-volume roman fleuve that follows the fortunes of the two brothers, Antoine and Jacques Thibault, from their upbringing in a prosperous Catholic bourgeois family to the end of the First World War. Six parts of the novel were published between 1922 and 1929; Martin du Gard abandoned a seventh in manuscript before completing the two final installments, l’Été 1914 and l’Épilogue. Written under the shadow of the darkening international situation in Europe in the 1930s, these last parts, which together are longer than the previous six combined, focus on the political and historical situation leading up to the outbreak of the First World War, and conclude with the death of Antoine Thibault in 1918. Martin du Gard wrote several other novels, including Jean Barois, which was set against the historical context of the Dreyfus Affair. During the Second World War, he resided in Nice, where he prepared a novel (Souvenirs du lieutenant-colonel de Maumort) that remained unfinished at his death; it was posthumously published in 1983. His other works include plays and a memoir of André Gide, a longtime friend. Roger Martin du Gard died in 1958 and was buried in the Cimiez Monastery Cemetery in Cimiez, a suburb of the city of Nice, France.
Halldór Kiljan Guðjónsson Laxness was born on this date in 1902. He was a twentieth-century Icelandic writer. Throughout his career Laxness wrote poetry, newspaper articles, plays, travelogues, short stories, and novels. Major influences included August Strindberg, Sigmund Freud, Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Bertolt Brecht and Ernest Hemingway.[2] He received the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature; he is the only Icelandic Nobel laureate.
Lester Bowles “Mike” Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was born on this date in 1897. He was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier and diplomat, who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965. During Pearson’s time as Prime Minister, his Liberal minority governments introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the new Flag of Canada. Pearson also convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and he struggled to keep Canada out of the Vietnam War. In 1967, his government passed Bill C-168, which abolished capital punishment in Canada de facto – by restricting it to a few capital offenses for which it was never used, and which themselves were abolished in 1976. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century[1] and is regularly ranked as one of the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers.


Society: Arts and Science – February 8

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.
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 died on this date in 1918. 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.
Sir Robert Robinson, OM, PRS, FRSE died on this date in 1975. He was an English organic chemist and Nobel laureate recognised in 1947 for his research on plant dyestuffs (anthocyanins) and alkaloids. In 1947, he also received the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm. His synthesis of tropinone, a precursor of cocaine, in 1917 was not only a big step in alkaloid chemistry but also showed that tandem reactions in a one-pot synthesis are capable of forming bicyclic molecules. He invented the symbol for benzene having a circle in the middle whilst working at St Andrews University in 1923. He is known for inventing the use of the curly arrow to represent electron movement, and he is also known for discovering the molecular structures of morphine and penicillin. In 1957 Robinson founded the journal Tetrahedron with fifty other editors for Pergamon Press.
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe died on this date in 1957. 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 a 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.
Halldór Kiljan Guðjónsson Laxness died on this date in 1998. He was a twentieth-century Icelandic writer. Throughout his career, Laxness wrote poetry, newspaper articles, plays, travelogues, short stories, and novels. Major influences included August Strindberg, Sigmund Freud, Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Bertolt Brecht and Ernest Hemingway.[2] He received the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature; he is the only Icelandic Nobel laureate.




Society: Arts and Science – December 15

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.
Antoine Henri Becquerel was born on this day in 1852. He was a French physicist and the discoverer of radioactivity along with Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie,[1] for which all three won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Niels Ryberg Finsen was born on this day in 1860. 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.
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli died on this date in 1958. He was an Austrian-born Swiss theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after having been nominated by Albert Einstein, Pauli received the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle.” The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter.
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins CBE FRS was born on this date in 1916. He was a New Zealand-born English physicist and molecular biologist, and Nobel Laureate whose research contributed to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar. He is best known for his work at King’s College, London on the structure of DNA which falls into three distinct phases. The first was in 1948–50 where his initial studies produced the first clear X-ray images of DNA which he presented at a conference in Naples in 1951 attended by James Watson. During the second phase of work (1951–52) he produced clear “B form” “X” shaped images from squid sperm which he sent to James Watson and Francis Crick causing Watson to write “Wilkins… has obtained extremely excellent X-ray diffraction photographs”(of DNA). Throughout this period Wilkins was consistent in his belief that DNA was helical even when Rosalind Franklin expressed strong views to the contrary. In 1953 Franklin instructed Raymond Gosling to give Wilkins, without condition, a high-quality image of “B” form DNA which she had unexpectedly produced months earlier but had “put it aside” to concentrate on other work. Wilkins, having checked that he was free to personally use the photograph to confirm his earlier results, showed it to Watson without the consent of Rosalind Franklin. This image, along with the knowledge that Linus Pauling had published an incorrect structure of DNA, “mobilised” Watson to restart model building efforts with Crick. Important contributions and data from Wilkins, Franklin (obtained via Max Perutz) and colleagues in Cambridge enabled Watson and Crick to propose a double-helix model for DNA. The third and longest phase of Wilkins’ work on DNA took place from 1953 onwards. Here Wilkins led a major project at King’s College, London, to test, verify and make significant corrections to the DNA model proposed by Watson and Crick and to study the structure of RNA. Wilkins, Crick and Watson 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.”

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.