Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nobel complexity: How the Nobel prize for the Higgs can mislead | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network

Nobel complexity: How the Nobel prize for the Higgs can mislead | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network:
What they do recognize is worthy enough, but the sum total of what they don’t recognize is exponentially increasing.
The Nobel Prize was established by Alfred Nobel 113 years ago, a time when science was very different. Individuals made discoveries, usually using equipment costing a few hundred dollars. A few countries mainly in the West were responsible for almost all of cutting-edge science. A formal system for federal funding of science was non-existent, and most scientists worked for a select few universities which, combined with a network of philanthropic organizations and individuals, disproportionately showered funds and prestige on these select few individuals. It was thus a time when lone minds still held considerable sway over the frontiers of science.
How times have changed. Although brilliant individuals still populate the ranks of science, almost every major scientific discovery is now recognized as a team effort. 
The "Great Man" theory does not hold, not only for scientific discovery, but also for many other human endeavors. But we like it, it simplifies complicated stories, gives us an idol we can worship, and thus gives us peace. :)

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