In his will, Nobel wrote that his huge fortune and it's generated interest "shall be annually distributed by a foundation in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."
Five categories were specified, physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace, with a sixth, economics, set up the Swedish Central Bank in 1968.
Back on Monday, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was shared between two American researchers, Craig Mello and Andrew Fire, for their research into the role of RNA molecules as explained by the prize awarding committee's Professor Bertil Fredholm
The next day, another two Americans, John C. Mather and George F. Smoot won the Physics prize for work that helped shed more light on the beginning of the universe, and the origin of galaxies and stars. Here's what the two winning space scientists had to say, John Mather, and first George Smoot..
Smoot: “It’s a pretty wonderful feeling! I can look out my window and see the bright lights of the city – and it seems like nice day to be winning the Prize….” Mather: “We knew the work that we had done was wonderful – we knew that it was important – But when I look at what has also been done in the world of science, there is so many magnificent accomplishments everywhere…(interviewer: So what will you do now?) I’ll spend most of my day on the phone I think…”
“I have wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember. From before he received the prize and for my period of education and work in science to this time. I can’t say that his receiving the prize had a direct influence. What I doubtless acquired from him was a passion for science.”
Well the United States clean sweep of the science prizes provoked some adverse reaction in some Swedish newspapers but more critical comment was saved for the discrepancy between male and female winners. Only 33 of the 763 Nobel laureates have been women with Marie Curie, the first, a two time winner. There's always next week of course when the Economics prize is awarded on Monday, followed by the peace prize on Friday. The Nobel Prize for literature, always the subject of hot debate, will be awarded at a later date. All the prize winners will descend on Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death for the awards dinner, hosted by the King and Queen of SwedenListen to the report:
There are two things that come to mind when you think of Romanian education. On the one hand, really good specialists most of whom are now in America or in Western Europe and on the other hand an education infrastructure which has been completely neglected in the last 16 years. RRI’s Iulian Muresan went to see Bucharest’s largest student campus at the beginning of the school year.
Growing numbers of Britons and Germans take advantage of Poland's expanding private health sector to have their teeth fixed cheaply, or to perform cosmetic surgery. 'This medical tourism has taken off in a big way in the historic city of Krakow, which is a destination of many low cost airlines. Radio Polonia's John Beauchamp reports from Krakow. This report is by John Beauchamp.
After Ireland, Italy, Sweden or Spain, France could become the next country to introduce a blanket ban on smoking in public areas. That’s what a parliamentary committee recommended this week, after five months of consultations with doctors, tobacconists, and trade unions. According to government figures, some thirty five per cent of the French population uses tobacco, and sixty six thousand die of smoke related illnesses every year. The measure would be enforced from September next year at the latest, though the committee held open a possible delay till summer 2008 for some establishments, including night clubs and restaurants. The tobacco lobby reacted with outrage. But Radio France International’s Nick Champeaux says smokers in Paris are already making the mental adjustments.
General elections took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina last weekend but many Bosnians are still trying to work out what the results mean for their country's future. The winners seem to be split between those who want to reform the country and its divisions, and those who want to retain the ethnic divide between Bosnian Serbs on the one hand and Croats and Muslims on the other. The international community is planning on handing over power to local politicians next year, but says that first, controversial reforms need to take place. From Sarajevo, DW's Nicholas Walton reports.
"Journeys of Franz Kafka" is the name of a new internet project in which award-winning Czech photographer Jan Jindra follows in the footsteps of the literary great, taking black and white pictures of many of the places Kafka visited. One of the project's aims is to dispel the idea that the German-speaking author never left Prague; in fact he travelled rather extensively, around the Czech Republic and to countries such as Germany, France and Italy. Radio Prague's Ian Willoughby has the story.
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