Nobel Prizes

Bob Timmermann, Senior Librarian, History & Genealogy Department,
The picture of the Nobel Prize.

Today, December 10, is the date that all the Nobel Prizes are bestowed on their recipients. There are six awards in all (Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, and Economics) and five of them are given out in Stockholm with the Peace Prize being awarded in Oslo.

If you come to LAPL, you are probably most likely going to be able to find books to check out by the Literature prizewinner, Mo Yan of China. In the press release announcing the prize, Yan’s was described as someone “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”  The library has quite a few of his titles available in Chinese, as well as Vietnamese, but a few have also been translated into English.

One of Yan’s books to get a recent reprint in English is titled Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out.

Another novel from 1993 Red Sorghum is a little harder to find, but you can put in a request for it. (Even if you can read Chinese, there are still waiting lists for most of Yan’s books.)

The Economics winners were Lloyd Shapley and Alvin Roth, honored “"for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.”

There are two books with essays by Roth you can find at LAPL, The Handbook of Experimental Economics  and Better Living Through Economics.  Most of Shapley’s work was in academic journals, but the library does have a 1974 RAND Corporation report he co-authored titled Values of Non-atomic Games.

The Peace Prize was won by an organization, the European Union, a group that produces a prodigious amount of information in a variety of formats. The award was given for human rights efforts in Europe.

The winners in the scientific fields tend not to write popular books that you can find in the public library. Their groundbreaking work appears in academic journals. And sometimes, the winners get their awards decades after their original discovery.

Sir John Gurdon of Britain and Shinya Yamasaki of Japan shared the Medicine Prize. Both worked in the field of stem cell research. Gurdon first made his discover in 1962, the same year Yamasaki was born.

Two Americans, Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka shared the Chemistry Prize "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors", and the Physics prized was shared by Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland  "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems"

There are layman’s guides for the MedicineChemistry, and Physics Prizes.