How This Year's Nobels in Science Compare to Past Winners

Oct 10, 2017

The Nobel Prizes in science were awarded this past week, and Massachusetts was well-represented. 

Two of the three recipients of the physiology and medicine prize are from Brandeis University, and half the physics prize went to a scientist who has spent the vast majority of his career – from college onward – at MIT. 

The prizes also offer a chance to ruminate on who wins these awards, and what that says about the culture of science.

To dig into those questions, we turn to Peter Galison, the Jospeh Pellegrino University Professor in the Physics Department at Harvard University. He’s also the director of Harvard’s collection of historical scientific instruments.

We start with the Nobel Prize in physics, which went to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne for their work on gravitational waves.

"What's extraordinary about this award in physics is that this was an experiment that was planned an executed over decades," Galison tells Living Lab Radio. "It was a huge -- a lifetime -- engagement."

Hear the rest of the conversation here: