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Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Prize for Humility, Anyone?



It is another season galore of dishing out Nobel prices to world’s top achievers.
The Nobel Prize arguably remains the best known global award. The prize has a way of bringing an issue into the public spotlight or making a household name of a scientist working in a seemingly esoteric field.

However, a striking observation in this year's bonanza is the advanced ages of the recipients is their advanced ages. This may prompt the question ‘does the Norwegian Nobel committee honour only academic fossil?’ Or closer home, we could ask are they borrowing from our politics where age is elevated to an asset status even in the absence of any dividend to show for it.

Lest this observation be denigrated as trivializing phenomenal achievement from the world’s finest brains, it is imperative to record that only 2007 the Nobel Prize co-winner for Peace, Albert (Al) Arnold Gore is the youngest at the age of 59. Next youngest is UK’s co-winner in medicine, Sir Martin Evans at 66. The latter’s country lady Doris Lessing had to wait for 88 years to win the Literature prize with 25 books under her belt. The other winners were all born in the 1930s.

True, the Nobel Prizes’ committee may mean well in awarding only acknowledged, tested and proven brains. But it may equally not be mischievous to imagine that they prefer awarding people nearing their graves, figuratively that is. Or do they fear fame going into the heads of Laureates? Both ways the Nobel Prize has stood the test of time and it would only be enticing to spice youth with age to motivate burgeoning scholars. Meanwhile congratulations to all the winners for exploiting their upper faculties to fame.

11 comments:

kalamari said...

There's no doubt that Raila Nobel Odinga will one day claim one of those trophies that define who Mathaai is (how old was she?) today. Her only mistake being her lackluster support for Kibaki, the Tetu MP did Kenya/Africa proud. What I do not understand is her quest to be identified with that colorful rug that she constantly ties around her head…..to keep it intact.

Talking of awards, what ever happened to the million dollar awards to retired African presidents for their commitment to the general good. I think the sponsor was some Arab chap. It was to be administered by the very retired presidents. Word on the street is that the prize money disappeared around the time Moi was visiting Dubai.

Anyway, the one guy who definitely deserves recognition is one Peter Mwethera. I went to Yala with this jamaa.

kalamari said...

-not to mean that a fanatical support for Kibaki would right her mistake. ilikuja na meli.

Taabu said...

Kalamari, Prof Wangari Muta Maathai is a 1940 born making her averagely younger than these years’ Laureates. In my estimation she is one GREAT Kenyan whom we have failed to use to our motherland’s advantage. She is a global citizen still embroiled in sectarian politics. She belongs to all of us. Just here her opening acceptance speech during the Prize’s presentation in 2004:

“I stand before you and the world humbled by this recognition and uplifted by the honour of being the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. As the first African woman to receive this prize, I accept it on behalf of the people of Kenya and Africa, and indeed the world.”

And we still shamelessly bottle her in our small and petty village politics?

kalamari said...

Taabu, evidently, one cannot feed on a medal and the price money was not really enough; that which a prominent head-geared Mathaai can retire on. Without the savvyness (did you see her on Oprah?) to traverse this planet seeking for more trees (and funds) to plant even in the Sahara desert, she appears to have had no choice but plunge into the murky waters of Tetu politics. We all watched and allowed her to indulge in the nasty MPing campaigning.

Now, after five years in parliament, what has this woman achieved?.... other than fighting some Kibaki related coffee kingpins from Texas.

Vikii said...

Special mention and honour for Taabu for stepping in for his brother Chris when the latter gets halluciantions about being the government spokesman in january. Dreaming is allowable but surely not the kind that Chris and company are caught up in.


It is a pity that the less noble minds in East Coast see Raila everywhere. Kalamari my friend, are you implying that Wangari Maathai is a lesser nobel laurate because of her support for Kibaki? That's a new low and Patrick opondi has every reason to feel really threatened when it comes to pettiness in this blog.

Taabu, I do not agree with anything you have said in your post. First of all, the attitude WE, the youth have of reading discrimination everywhere is defeatist. The Nobel peace prize is not a prize to be accorded to every Dick, Tom and Harry. People have got to earn it. For your argument to have some validity, Mr taabu, u need to tell us which young person you feel has been unjustifiably denied the prize. I can name you an old guy who actually deserved it but he never got it. Mahttma Gandhi should have won that prize in any of his last five years on earth but he never did. Should the old people now allege discrimination?

About Al Gore (I admire this fellow)being the youngest winner, I beg to disagree. I dont understand what exactly you meant by that. I know MANY people who won it before their 59th birthday. Martin Luther king Jr was 35 when he won it, Aung San Suu Kyii was 46 she won it in 1991, Lech walesa was 40 when he won his in 1983 and many other examples abound.

That said, I wish to nominate Phil for Kumekucha's award of Blind Loyalty.

Vikii said...

You are talking about the 2007 winners, arent u? In that case I withdrawal my disagreement. The bit about how there should be a mixture doesnt add water though.


And you need to learn kikuyu so u could understand D4K trio.

Take it esay

Taabu said...

Vikii, thanks for your self-correction. Thanks too for the small list of past Laureates. All that will not make BB take anything from you. It is your right to say whatever you want bro and I will protect and defend you to do so, my responsibility.

Phil said...

Wangari Maathai is the most colourless nobel peace price laureate I have ever seen. She has completely failed to effectively use her prestigious status to bring about any meaningful changes. Her billion tree campaign is far behind target and quite impractical in my opinion.

Vikii, mine is not blind loyalty, rather it is passionate support for a political party with the right ideologies.

But I wouldnt hesitate to nominate you for the Kumekucha True Political Heartbreak Award..without monetary value....joint nominees with Derek who cannot just imagine staring at a Raila presidency in two months time.

Taabu said...

Not too fast Bw Phil. Champaign has very unique qualities and before you pop it it can disappointingly go stale to your embarassment and that of your guests. I repeat 70+ days in politics is a lifetime and don't count your chicks before the eggs are even laid. The Kumekucha True Political Heartbreak Award you award Vikii can be intepreted either way and you may end up taking the GOLD, ama?

Just a thought? Have you ODMers imagined that the defections could be NSIS moves to infiltrate the enemy camp? Wild imagination but possible, isn't it?

Phil said...

We know the moles have been planted in ODM. We know them. ODM has its own moles in PNU.

ODM is running several secretariats. ODM presidential candidate is also running several secretariats. Our manifesto is currently TOP secret.

The sad reality is that PNU has limited ideas...only urging a continuity and issuing passports to Muslims who do not wish to travel. ODM is far ahead.

Anonymous said...

Phil. Have you ever seen a jaluo nobel prize laureate? I think you have to wait until the committee includes wife inheritance and stone throwing as part of the disciplines? as of today we have only Peace, Economics, Chemistry, Physics,Literature, and Medicine. None has ever been won by a jaluo. none!

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