Americans Sweep 2006 Nobel Prizes

We no longer dominate the international basketball, golf, or yacht racing but Americans continue to kick Nobel Prize ass.

Columbia University’s Edmund S. Phelps today won the prize for economics, “the sixth American to win a Nobel this year, meaning that every prize except for the literature and peace awards, which are yet to be announced, have gone to Americans.” And those are the two namby-pamby ones, so who cares?

  • Last week, the Nobel medicine prize went to Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello for discovering a powerful way to turn off the effect of specific genes.
  • John C. Mather and George F. Smoot won the physics prize for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of how the universe was created.
  • American Roger D. Kornberg won the prize in chemistry for his studies of how cells take information from genes to produce proteins, a process that could provide insight into defeating cancer and advancing stem cell research.

Boo-yah!

I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here but the continued dominance of the United States in the sciences and economic theory is a testament to the quality of our universities, the vibrancy of our economy, and our liberty. Indeed, a not insignificant number of the “American” winners in past years have been immigrants lured by those advantages to do their work here.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. madmatt says:

    How can you support such godless secularism….don’t you know that god created the earth 6000 years ago, best get back to sucking up to your base!!!!!

  2. george says:

    Which raises the interesting possibility that the people pushing for Intelligent Design and the like are just trying to make the race for Nobel Prizes more interesting by handicapping the United States?

  3. Anderson says:

    And I always thought the Big Bang creation of the universe was an Egyptian myth.

  4. Steven Plunk says:

    I don’t quite get the religion isn’t compatible with science vibe here.

    Not being a proponent or opponent if ID I don’t really have a dog in the fight. However, I hardly see ID as AS or anti-science. Certainly there have been Nobel winners who believe in God and believe in creation as the bible teaches it. If history shows such beliefs didn’t handicap those scientists then why would we think the same beliefs would handicap the scientists of today?

    I would also add that our capitalist system gives us an advantage in the sciences. Many winners excel in their fields because of the affluence afforded to them by corporations and wealthy donors who support their causes directly or indirectly.

    Free market mechanisms allow researchers to profit from the work they do drawing more people into the sciences and providing capital to build labs, equipment, etc..

    Many of these winners worked in the areas they wanted to not where government mandates steered their work.

  5. george says:

    Not being a proponent or opponent if ID I don’t really have a dog in the fight. However, I hardly see ID as AS or anti-science. Certainly there have been Nobel winners who believe in God and believe in creation as the bible teaches it. If history shows such beliefs didn’t handicap those scientists then why would we think the same beliefs would handicap the scientists of today?

    Lots of Nobel Prize winners in science believed (and believe) in God. I’d guess there are some who believe God got the whole ball rolling (started the big bang, created the laws of physics and so on). I doubt you’d find one in the last few decades who believes the world is only 10,000 years old – you’d have to give up almost all of modern physics, chemistry and biology to do so.

    But more than that is the problem of teaching ID in science class, at the expense of real science. Though it was a “The Onion” spoof, why not give Intelligent Falling equal time with Newtonian Physics in elementary and high school … afterall, the main point of ID is that if science can’t prove something (evolution in their minds but it’s also true for every other scientific theory simply because nothing in science can be proved, it’s all inductive reasoning) a religious explanation should be considered. Same thing with chemistry, why not Intelligent Bonding?

    Teaching ID as part of philosophy or religious studies in school might not be a bad idea. Taking up time in science classes hurts science.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Presumably, to balance things off they’ll give a posthumous Peace Prize to Zarqawi. Next year Kim Jong-Il is a shoe-in.

  7. Wayne says:

    Stating that “for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of how the universe was created” is a gross overstatement the article below states it better.

    http://www.nbc11.com/technology/9989785/detail.html

    The fact that many seem to jump to the conclusion that it disproves a deity shows their closed minded bias.

    I don’t know if I seen this particular work on dark matter unless it is what I read approximately a year ago. However, they have been looking for dark matter for some time now since observations have contradicted the “theory” of big bang. Dark matter gave them a mean to explain why their predictions didn’t hold up.

    Like most theories, it is a theory in works. It will be adjusted and redefined many times over. The vast majority of individuals misunderstand most theories. Einstein Special and General theory of relativity come to mind.

    If anyone comes across the link to the actual study please post it. I like to study it.

    The Nobel Prizes are a like the Grammies. Political in nature and irrelevant to the quality of the science or movie.

  8. G.A. Phillips says:

    Dude why, I will try again, the missing link that they have so much faith in but can’t seem to find, no matter how far they dig or what kind of evidence they fabricate(You can not date the fossil by the rock and the rock by the fossil and tell me with a straight face you know how old any thing beyond recorded history is)all because they see likeness between man and monkey? our DNA is almost exactly the same except for the tiny Little part that make us as different from them as lets say common sense from a liberal. I believe that this absolutely shows not a common ancestor but a common Creator, it is simple, the reason they can not find said missing Link is because cause God created man and monkey within the same 6 day period. Now I’ll bet you will ask me how a new and different breed of jackass appeared out of nowhere in the 1960’S…….

  9. Steve says:

    … I hardly see ID as AS or anti-science. Certainly there have been Nobel winners who believe in God and believe in creation as the bible teaches it. If history shows such beliefs didn’t handicap those scientists then why would we think the same beliefs would handicap the scientists of today?

    I’m afraid you don’t understand ID, then.
    ID proponents claim it to be an explanatory principle that should figure into any scientific
    account. Now, if someone says, “The scientific account of the world points to an intelligent
    designer,” I have no problem with him or her arguing this way. This was the original
    use of the intelligent design concept (the watch on the beach). I don’t think this is a
    particularly good argument, though, but it is still an argument for the existence of God.
    Note, however, that this is not part of the scientific account — it is a
    conclusion drawn from that account. Modern proponents want the ID concept
    to be part of the scientific account, i.e, not extra-scientific conclusion, but scientific premise.

    It’s the logical order that generates the controversy.

  10. Michael says:

    the continued dominance of the United States in the sciences and economic theory is a testament to the quality of our universities, the vibrancy of our economy, and our liberty

    …of 30 to 40 years ago. I wonder how many Americans will be winning Nobel Prizes for work done these days?

  11. Boyd says:

    Now I’ll bet you will ask me how a new and different breed of jackass appeared out of nowhere in the 1960′S…….

    I don’t get your point, G.A. Were you born in the 60s?

  12. Wayne says:

    Isn’t it odd how a comment about Nobel Prizes or Big Bang Theory quickly turns to Theory of Evolution and God?

    That is reason science is being brought into question. It seems most try to use it to enforce their beliefs instead of discovery. What is worst is many so call scientist research is for that purpose.

    I suppose it like finding an unbiased reporter.