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Nobels fredspris (peace prize) and the other Nobel peace prize

October 10, 2010

The Nobel prizes winners have been announced this week.  There are 5 in total for: chemistry, physics, literature, medicine and peace.  Alfred Nobel was born in Sweden in 1833 and died in Italy in 1896. He was a chemical engineer and developed dynamite.  In his will written in 1895 he stated that most of his money should be used for prizes. His family weren’t happy about this and it took until 1901 for the first prizes to be awarded.  In his will Nobel wrote

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- – -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo

The peace prize is the ony prize awarded in Norway, the others being awarded in Sweden.  The Norwegian Storting (parliament) appoint a committee to consider the nominations and decide upon the winner.  Previous winners have included Nelson Mandela, the current Dalai Lama, and UNICEF.  Some of the winners have been contraversial including last years winner Barack Obama.  On Friday  the 2010 winner was announced –  Liu Xiaobo – because of his continued fight for human rights in China.  Of course the Chinese government isn’t pleased.
The winners of all the Nobel prize winners and more info can be found at http://nobelprize.org
As well as the other Nobel prizes, the Ig Nobel prizes have also been given out this week.  The Ig Nobels are given out for improbable research that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.  Well the Ig Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to my friend Maria’s partner: Richard Stephens.  Gratulerer Richard!!!!  Richard and his colleagues have found that swearing when in pain is more effective at relieving the pain, than saying any non-swear word. For those that are interested the full paper is Stephens R,  Atkins J, and Kingston A (2009) Swearing as a Response to Pain, Neuroreport, 20(12), pp. 1056-60.  Details of the other Ig Nobel prizes can be found at http://improbable.com/ 
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