The Nobel Physics award this year
is for fiberoptics and CCD detectors, otherwise known as the guts of digital cameras. I worked with CCD detectors more directly when I did my research with photoelectron spectroscopy. They are extremely clever little gizmos and they make possible photos that range from the sublime (Hubble space telescope
) to the ridiculous (countless drunken cell phone pictures) to the heartbreaking(pictures of Buddhist monks killed
by the regime in Burma, basiji thugs
beating peaceful protesters in Iran). Real science that has affected the lives of millions for the better (yes, getting the word out about horrific abuse is better than letting violent regimes keep it a secret.) The Nobel Science prizes are truly an honor and reflect the best humanity can offer.
And then we have the Nobel Peace Prize. Awarded to a weapons-grade narcissist who had been in office a mere three weeks when the committee made its decision, and who now joins the likes of Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Kofi Annan, who also received this ... accolade. (You know, it *does* seem appropriate now that I think about it. A terrorist, a wimp, a blowhard, and a corruptocrat...)