Sunday, December 10, 2017

Science fiction, activism, science, and economics for Nobel Prize Day 2017

For the Sunday entertainment entry, I'm going to do what I did last year for Bob Dylan, feature the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Normally, I'd have done this in October, when the winners are announced, but I was too busy writing about the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.  However, I have a second chance today, as it's Nobel Prize Day.
The Nobel Laureates are announced at the beginning of October each year. A couple of months later, on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death, they receive their prizes from the Swedish King – a Nobel diploma, a medal, and 10 million Swedish crowns per prize. All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway. (When Alfred Nobel was alive, Norway and Sweden were united under one monarch, until 1905 when Norway became an independent kingdom with its own king.)
Euronews has the story in Kazuo Ishiguro wins 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It was announced by Professor Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.

Japanese-born Ishiguro won the prize for uncovering "the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world," the Swedish Academy said on awarding the nine million crown ($1.1 million/936,000 euros) prize.
While his most famous novel is probably the Booker Prize winner "The Remains of the Day," which was made into an Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning movie, Ishiguro deserves being mentioned here because of his dystopian science fiction novel "Never Let Me Go" and fantasy novel "The Buried Giant."  The former was made into a movie written by Alex Garland and starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Kiera Knightley that was nominated for five Saturn Awards, Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Mulligan, Best Supporting Actor for Garfield, Best Supporting Actor for Knightley, and Best Writing for Garland; Garfield won.*  Yes, a speculative fiction writer won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

That's not unheard of.  The question Was any science-fiction or fantasy author ever awarded the Nobel prize for literature? attracted a list of laureates who have written speculative fiction in the answers, including Doris Lessing, William Golding, Rudyard Kipling, Hermann Hesse, and William Butler Yeats.  Still, all are the kind of authors I examined in Part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? When SF novels became best-sellers -- authors who made their reputations writing mainstream works and only later wrote speculative fiction, particularly science fiction.  Ishiguro fits that mold.  I won't hold that against him; I'm just happy a speculative fiction author won.

Follow over the jump as the Nobel Prizes shift from fantasy to reality.

The next laureates I'm examining were recognized for their efforts in another topic relevant to the themes of this blog, the threat of nuclear war.  Al Jazeera English reports in Anti-nuclear weapons group wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The Norwegian panel praised the group for working to prohibit use of the weapons.

It comes amid tensions around North Korea's nuclear programme.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips reports from London.
I see I've found another group of Crazy Eddies in ICAN.  I wish them luck; they'll need it.

Now, the science awards, beginning with the physics prize, which was awarded to the discoverers of gravitational waves, the top science story of 2016.  Tech Insider/Business Insider explores the science in Scientists won the Nobel Prize for detecting gravitational waves.

This year's Physics Nobel Prize goes to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish for their efforts that helped lead to the first measurement of gravitational waves in 2015 by the LIGO team.
Tech Insider seems very taken with the possibilities of this discovery.  I hope they're right.

SciShow looks at winners of two prizes in one video -- The 2017 Nobel Prizes: Biological Clocks and Microscopy -- how convenient!

Last week, the recipients of the 2017 Nobel Prizes were announced. We take a closer look at the winners of the Physiology and Chemistry Awards, whose breakthroughs change the way we study sleep, and allow us to look at microscopic biological systems in a new way.
SciShow may have congratulated all the winners of the science prizes, but the confetti fell a little too early for today's entry, as I have one more laureate left.  PBS NewsHour features him in Economics Nobel winner Thaler shed light on how real people behave.

University of Chicago scholar Richard Thaler was honored with the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics for his work questioning traditional assumptions that markets act rationally, and for taking human nature into account. Economics correspondent Paul Solman helps explain Thaler's theories, then Judy Woodruff speaks with Thaler about his honored work.
I last examined the winner of the economics prize in 2013, when Robert Shiller won.  Both of them examined the irrational side of economics, which produces the booms and busts, particularly busts, that have been the subject of many economics posts on this blog.

Now it's time to congratulate all the winners of all the prizes.  Congratulations!

I'll post a more conventional entertainment entry tomorrow when I plan on posting the television nominees for the Critics' Choice Movie Awards.  Stay tuned.

*This was my introduction to Ishiguro, Garland, Mulligan, and Garfield.  I found the movie beautiful but tragic, which means it fits perfectly with other films I call "science fiction date movies," "Enternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Butterfly Effect," and "The Time Traveler's Wife."  I plan on writing about all these films when I resume blogging the Saturn Awards.

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