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Thumbs up for Nambu, big thumbs down to Reuters

October 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Frank Wilczek and Yoichiro Nambu

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

What wonderful news that Yoichiro Nambu finally got a Nobel Prize! Frank and I were just beaming at each other when the announcement came. It felt like having the Red Sox win the World Series, although minus the cars honking and people screaming in Harvard Square.

Frank is a big admirer of Nambu, whose work he praised in in a postcript to his own 2004 Nobel Lecture (pdf):

I’d like to mention specifically a trio of physicists whose work was particularly important in leading to ours, and who have not (yet?) received a Nobel Prize for it. These are Yoichiro Nambu, Stephen Adler, and James Bjorken. Those heroes advanced the cause of trying to understand hadronic physics by taking the concepts of quantum field theory seriously, and embodying them in specific mechanistic models, when doing so was difficult and unfashionable.

In fact, Nambu won the prize yesterday for a different part of his work, which just goes to show how brilliant and creative he is. I hope he will have as lovely a time in Stockholm as we did; it is a wonderful party.
Meanwhile, I quickly uploaded my own snapshot of Nambu to Wikipedia. And that photo soon went to the front page of Wikipedia, which delighted me. But it also soon went up all over the Google News with a credit to Reuters instead of to Betsy Devine and/or Wikipedia. That is a violation of the photo’s license, and I think that Reuters should be ashamed of itself.

Tags: Nobel · Wide wonderful world · wikipedia

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TA // Oct 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I’m happy for Nambu, but I agree with that other guy in your photo :) that it could easily have been two separate prizes. I’d even take it a step further and say that it should have been two separate prizes.

    BTW, I have a suggestion for “The Attraction of Darkness”: make one of the conspirators a member of the Nobel committee.

  • 2 Betsy Devine // Oct 9, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    It does seem to me too that this prize went to two different huge achievements. But I was very happy to read in the comments on Lubos Motl’s blog that some people think Jeffrey Goldstone might later get a prize with Peter Higgs, if all goes well at LHC. OTOH, I am glad the Nobel Committee did not wait for Nambu to get any older before honoring him for his many physics creations.

  • 3 TA // Oct 10, 2008 at 12:01 am

    I would have liked a Nambu-Goldstone prize and a Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa one. The upcoming Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble headache would have been bad enough even without Goldstone still on the loose. No matter how they handle that one, I’m afraid this year’s complaints over Cabibbo will pale in comparison. :(