I think the above comments display the unusual nature of an extremely interesting new book, which I found hard to put down once I started reading. This book clearly organizes and presents to the layman interested in cosmology and astronomy an engrossing exploration of the realities of a career at the forefront of cosmic research and the practical impacts of the Nobel Prize on the advancements these remarkable sciences.
The Nobel Prize should not be confused with awards that can be diffused to acknowledge the disparity of success amongst the races and sexes. We might encourage the Academy Awards to better appreciate the contributions of Black, Latino and female actors and producers as a means to level the field and break glass ceilings, but this is very different than the Nobel Prize. To argue that the Nobel Committee should now embark on affirmative action in awarding the science prizes is to confuse actual accomplishment with desired opportunity. Yes, we want minorities and women to have better chances to embark on scientific careers. But promoting lesser accomplishments, or bending the rules (by awarding posthumous awards to women) won’t work. The result would be a diminished value to the most important prize in the world. The award recognizes individuals of accomplishment, not teams, governments, financiers or gravestones.
When there’s no major downside to getting it wrong, scientists of this era are going to continue to rush their work to press (much like modern journalists do).
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