2291 - The Nobel Prize: Winners, Losers, and the Nature of Science
Nobel Laureates in the sciences are nearly always highly deserving of their honor, but the process of scientific discovery is a tangled path filled with accidents, wrong turns and a variety of improbable winners and losers-characters more like something out of Alice in Wonderland than a conventional textbook on the history of science. In this class we’ll examine the convoluted history of the Nobel Prizes beginning with the rather strange life of Alfred Nobel and continuing through more than a century of scientific discoveries in physics, chemistry, and physiology/medicine. We’ll discuss the great revolutions in physics such as relativity and quantum mechanics, the transformation of chemistry from a science little removed from its roots in alchemy to a sophisticated exploration of molecular structure, and see how both physics and chemistry contributed to the rise of molecular biology. Come join me as we explore the strange world down the rabbit hole. Lecture (plus questions).
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