Nobel Lessons

The announcement of the Nobel prizes ended, an award created on behalf of the financial fortune of Alfred Nobel, who wanted to recognize the best of humanity, an important symbol that remains in force, which recognizes those who make this world a better place.

In medicine, the Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded, whose work consisted of identifying how heat, cold and touch can trigger responses in the nervous system, which has allowed progress in treatments for chronic pain. In Chemistry, the creation of organocatalysis, a tool that allows the construction of molecules, was recognized by the German Benjamin List and the American David WC MacMillan, recognized, among other reasons, because with this they made chemistry more ecological and cheaper, which, for example in the case of medicines, allows greater access to the population.

In Physics the award went to an Italian, Giorgio Parisi; a Japanese, Syukuro Manabe; and a German, Klauss Hasselmann, who have dedicated their lives to warning the effects of climate change, based on their theoretical studies and modeling of what can result if course is not corrected. A recognition of understanding complex systems in the long term and the attempt to predict them, something that decades ago seemed unlikely. And speaking of complex systems, the well-known prize in Economics recognized the work to draw conclusions from unexpected experiments and bring them to the labor market, a task done by the Canadian David Card, the American Joshua D’Angrist and the Dutch Guido W. Imbens, who have demonstrated that in the labor market conclusions about cause and effect can be obtained empirically, a matter that has also shown how migration does not affect jobs.

An immigrant is the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Born in Tanzania (Africa), but settled in the United Kingdom, Abdulrazak Gurnah in his work has shown the harmful effects of colonialism on cultures, between which he has created an abyss, which is reflected in refugees. And two journalists, the Filipino Maria Ressa – the only woman in this year’s select group – and the Russian Dmitry Muratov, received the Peace Award, given by Norway, for their tireless fight for freedom of expression and the defense of Human Rights, a contribution of journalism to the resistance against caudillismos, who show themselves to the world in democratic clothes, but under that cloak they impose regimes that go precisely against everything that democracy proclaims.

Returning each year to these issues and recognizing that there are many people who work for the common good is an opportunity to understand that hope is key for humans to look back and realize the amount of things we have won and, at the same time, time, how vulnerable these benefits can be. The common good, which we take for granted, can fade if we do not value it. That is what the Nobel Prize reminds us.

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Nobel Lessons

Hank Gilbert