A New Category of Nobel Prize


This is merely a suggestion, but in thinking about the various Nobel Laureates, particularly President Obama, Secretary of Energy Chu and former Vice-President Gore, perhaps the time has come for the Nobel committee to create a new category of prize.

Perhaps it should be called the Nobel Prize for Actually Accomplishing Something Useful.

Or, perhaps the Nobel Prize for Innovation.  Yes, the Nobel Prize for Innovation might be more acceptable, especially by Obama and Gore.

This particular prize would be awarded to those individuals who have created things that have fundamentally changed the entire world, but without the basis of an underlying scientific or scholarly breakthrough.  The idea would oddly be in keeping with the work of Alfred Nobel himself.  Nobel invented dynamite, which arguably changed the world.  Of course young Alfred came from a pretty clever family.  His father, Immanuel Nobel, invented something used around the world almost every day – plywood.  So providing a Nobel Prize for innovation would be in keeping with what Alfred Nobel and his family are most noted for themselves — innovation

The Nobel committee would certainly need examples of such individuals to use as a  a baseline in order to evaluate current nominees for such a prize.  Several names come immediately to mind:

James Watt, the inventor of the first commercial and economical steam engine.  Without his groundbreaking innovation, steam engines as locomotives would never have been developed, and where would the left be without the image of Woody Guthrie “riding the rails”?

Thomas Edison, who invented not only the light bulb, but the movie camera concept.  Hollywood would vote for this guy, no doubt, but since his light bulbs were incandescent, Lisa Jackson of the EPA would probably veto the choice.

Alexander Graham Bell, the man you can thank for those robo-calls you invariable get while sitting down to dinner. 

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who initiated the ability of everyone around the world to have a computer on their desk.  They also created a medium that will eventually replace the so-called Main Stream Media as a reliable source of information.

Bill Gates, who gave IBM a leg up in competing with Jobs and Wozniak, and making computing power more usable.  Sadly, his efforts made the use of a computer more unavoidable, and acted as an additional cause of the coming bankruptcy of the Postal Service, due to the creation of e-mail.

Interestingly, and granting that this list is not based on enormous research but simply the first names that came to mind, it is interesting to note that four of the five (or six if you don’t count Jobs and Wozniak as a unit) are Americans.  It is also almost certainly a coincidence that none of the six are politicians.

It is also interesting that there would be almost no disagreement that individuals such as these made a mark, not just on America, not just on the western world, but arguably made their mark on the entire planet.  And their mark will assuredly last an order of magnitude longer than any impact the winner of the Nobel Peace prize could expect.

The creation of this new Nobel Prize for Innovation would also be a golden opportunity for Barack Obama to give another speech.  Naturally his speech would simply be a restatement of one he gave when he first began his presidency, all about how America is NOT an exceptional country.

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About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
Gallery | This entry was posted in EPA, Humor, Jobs, Observing Our Culture, Random Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A New Category of Nobel Prize

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