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Animastryfe
10-14-2009, 01:06 AM
What is the shortest time between an accomplishment, discover, invention, act etc. and the awarding of the Nobel Prize for said accomplishment? I'm pretty sure that the Peace Prize has the shortest, but I would like to know the shortest ones for each particular prize.

dracoi
10-14-2009, 04:26 AM
Given that the Peace Prize is negative time (i.e. they'll award it before you achieve anything), I think that has to be it.

By the way, this is not an Obama attack. When Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize, I lost respect for it entirely - to give a terrorist an award for half-measures and lies was just plain unbelievable to me.

Bijou Drains
10-14-2009, 06:56 AM
The science prizes can take a long time, sometimes 20 or more years. This guy won his only 9 years after the work he won for.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kary_Mullis

Busy Scissors
10-14-2009, 06:58 AM
A recent one that was fairly snappy was the 2006 Nobel prize for medicine - awarded to Andrew Fire and Craig Mello for the discovery of RNA interference in 1998.

MikeS
10-14-2009, 09:11 AM
The very first Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1901, went to Wilhelm Röntgen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Conrad_Röntgen), who had discovered X-rays only six years prior. The 1915 Physics Prize went to William Bragg Sr. and William Bragg Jr., who had discovered Bragg diffraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bragg%27s_Law) only three years prior.

Animastryfe
10-14-2009, 10:51 AM
The very first Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1901, went to Wilhelm Röntgen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Conrad_Röntgen), who had discovered X-rays only six years prior. The 1915 Physics Prize went to William Bragg Sr. and William Bragg Jr., who had discovered Bragg diffraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bragg%27s_Law) only three years prior.

It seems that those earlier prizes took much less time than the later prizes. So for the sciences 20+ years is the norm, while it's very rare to be awarded a prize before a decade has passed after the accomplishment.

Exapno Mapcase
10-14-2009, 11:56 AM
The shortest is generally considered to be the 1957 Physics Prize shared by Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang for their work that suggested solid experimental tests that would show that the weak interaction violated parity laws. That work was published in 1956.

Chronos
10-14-2009, 03:18 PM
Theoretically, they're all supposed to be awarded within a year, but that's almost never actually the case.

John Mace
10-14-2009, 05:57 PM
Theoretically, they're all supposed to be awarded within a year, but that's almost never actually the case.

What do you mean by "theoretically"? Was that in Nobel's will or part of the committee's charter?

Animastryfe
10-14-2009, 06:38 PM
What do you mean by "theoretically"? Was that in Nobel's will or part of the committee's charter?

According to the will itself on Nobelprize.org:

the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.

t-bonham@scc.net
10-14-2009, 11:11 PM
in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The Nobel scientific committees use that last phrase, have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind as a bit of an escape clause. The rationale is that a discovery may have happened some years ago, but it is just within the preceding year that the beneficial effect on mankind have become clear.

It's fairly common in science, especially recent science research, that it takes several years before the effects of a discovery are understood. (And, within a few years, some 'discoveries' are shown to be wrong. Waiting a few years helps them reduce the risk of awarding the prize for a 'wrong' discovery.)

This is a way for the Nobel scientific committees to meet the intention of the will in a reasonable way, even if it's slightly stretching the actual ters of the will.

Animastryfe
10-15-2009, 10:08 AM
The Nobel scientific committees use that last phrase, have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind as a bit of an escape clause. The rationale is that a discovery may have happened some years ago, but it is just within the preceding year that the beneficial effect on mankind have become clear.

It's fairly common in science, especially recent science research, that it takes several years before the effects of a discovery are understood. (And, within a few years, some 'discoveries' are shown to be wrong. Waiting a few years helps them reduce the risk of awarding the prize for a 'wrong' discovery.)

This is a way for the Nobel scientific committees to meet the intention of the will in a reasonable way, even if it's slightly stretching the actual ters of the will.
According to the wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_controversies), Enrico Fermi was awarded his prize prematurely.

Keeve
10-15-2009, 01:48 PM
And, within a few years, some 'discoveries' are shown to be wrong. Waiting a few years helps them reduce the risk of awarding the prize for a 'wrong' discovery.Sounds like a very prudent approach. And if it's true for the physical sciences, all the more so for the social sciences. (read: The Peace prize ought to be delayed even more than the physics!)

JWT Kottekoe
10-15-2009, 10:57 PM
Another quick one was the 1976 prize for the discovery of the J/psi particle, proving conclusively the existence of the charmed quark. The prize was announced less than two years after the discovery. This wasn't as fast as Lee and Yang's prize, mentioned above. Lee was only 31 years old when he won the prize, but Sir Lawrence Bragg was only 25 when he won his. Brian Josephson was 33 when he won his prize, but the work was done when he was 22.

Simplicio
10-15-2009, 11:31 PM
According to the wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_controversies), Enrico Fermi was awarded his prize prematurely.

I seem to recall reading that there was some pressure on the academy to give the prize to Fermi that year as he needed to money to get himself and his Jewish wife out of fascist Italy.