ALL categories of the world-famous Nobel Prizes are announced in October every year.
This year, the announcements came a bit earlier.
As usual, the prizes for medicine and physiology, physics and chemistry are announced ahead of the others.
They are usually won by scientists from the Group of Seven countries.
This year’s winners are no exception. Most of the breakthrough works in science come largely from this elite group of nations. China is trying to do catch-up. The United States predominates in the Nobel Prize tally.
In the economic sciences category, American laureates have won most of the Nobel Prizes, particularly those from the University of Chicago.
For countries not in the G7, their best hope of winning a Nobel is through literature and peace.
Many Latin American countries and Caribbean writers have won Nobel Prizes this way.
The Congo doctor, Denis Mukwege, who has just won the Nobel Peace Prize, is a case in point.
Interestingly, Leon Lederman, who won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics, died about the time the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was announced.
According to the Dallas Morning News, “What Stephen Hawking did for cosmology, Leon Lederman does for particle physics”.
Hawking, who died on March 14, missed the Nobel Prize just like Mahatma Gandhi, who missed the Nobel Prize in Peace.
For years to come, we can expect the West to be the epicentre of Nobel-winning works in science and economics. They have the manpower, money, machinery and other resources to surge ahead.
For years to come, hopeful scientists, economists and writers will squirm in their seats come October every year. They don’t mind winning it at the age of 96 so long as they win it.
Malaysia hopes to win one before 2020. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
Japan hopes to win 30 Nobel Prizes in 50 years. It is approaching its target. Japan has produced a decent number of Nobel Prize laureates. In fact, no other non-Western country has matched Japan in terms of the number of Nobel Prize laureates; in the 21st century, Japanese scientists have received the most Nobel Prizes next only to Americans.
DR KOH AIK KHOON
Subang Jaya, Selangor