Present and Future Nobel Prize Laureates -Abu Muaj and Ifrith Islam
Two themes dominated the minds of the Norwegian Nobel Committee of 2021 as these two pressing problems have been very logically plaguing the planet for a long time. The issues certainly are climate change along with the refugee crisis and media muzzling. These problems are certainly the fallouts of international political meddling in different countries, indiscrete and arbitrary destruction of the environment in the name of development. In the citation of Nobel Physics Prize, the committee said the prize is given to Klaus Hasselmann “for physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”.
Klaus Ferdinand Hasselmann, born on 25 October in 1931, is a German oceanographer and climate modeler. He is the former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hamburg. He was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Syukuro Manabe and Giorgio Parisi.
Refugee issues creeped up in the Nobel Literature Prize as British-Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the prestigious prize for “uncompromising and compassionate” look at the “effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugees”. Though the underlying tone of his writing is dominated by the life and plight of those who ended up being refugees because of colonial persecution. The colonial age is long gone but political interference or meddling and military intervention or global policing are still forcing people to migrate from one place to another. Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh are the worst sufferers of the refugee crisis though they are not involved in political interference or meddling and military intervention or global policing. Turkey is hosting Syrian refugees, Pakistan is struggling with lakhs of Afghans displaced by Soviet and US invasion while Rohingyas are taking shelter in Bangladesh as the latter group is evicted by Myanmar military junta. Most of the Asian and African nations bear the brunt of Western interference using their corrupt but secular friends like former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, monarchs of middle eastern countries etc.
Among the physiologists in the world, only two — David Julius was born on November 4 in 1955 and Ardem Patapoutian — were picked by 282-year old Royal Swedish Academy of Science, for the Nobel Medicine Prize.
American physiologist and Nobel Laureate, David Julius — works as a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and worked on molecular mechanism of pain sensation and heat and also the inclusion of characterization of the TRPV1 and TRPM8 receptors that can detect capsaicin, menthol and temperature. He won the Shaw Prize in 2010 in Life Science and Medicine and also the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
Ardem Patapoutian is an American molecular biologist, neuroscientist, and Nobel Prize Laureate was born on 2nd October in 1967.
Both David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the prize for discoveries about how heat, cold and touch spurt signals in the central nervous system. Here the prize winners’ discovery points finger at the pains of humanity because of high heat and cold. From time immemorial heat and cold are two weather phenomena that humanity has been exposed to. First Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for diphtheria in 1901, 2nd for malaria next year and the third in 1903, for tuberculosis to Neils Ryberg Finsen. Certainly diphtheria, malaria and tuberculosis were three among greatest health hazards for the humanity.
But this time, the award is given to discovery of the causes of human feeling hot and cold. Maybe in future this discovery may pave the way for tackling climate change and its fallout on human health. This discovery is not directly any medicine for any chronic human health hazard but future physiologists would get new grounds or clues of further research.
Two journalists — Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia — have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as Ressa exposed Rodrigo Duterte and Muratov Putin. Ressa did her job through the digital news site Rappler while Muratov was the longtime editor of Novaya Gazeta, a Russian independent newspaper, and fought for press freedom and held the Kremlin’s power to account. She is the first Nobel Laureate from the Philippines.
In Time’s Person of the Year 2018 as one of a collection of intelligencers, Ressa was included, from around the world combating the fake news. On February 13, 2019, she was arrested by Philippine authorities for cyberlibel due to allegations that Rappler published a false news story concerning businessman Wilfredo Keng.
Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov, born 30 October 1961 is a Russian journalist, television presenter, and editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. He was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Maria Ressa for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
The committee singled out Ressa and Rappler for exposing what it called Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “murderous anti-drug campaign,” which has cost many thousands of lives. It also praised her for highlighting how political actors use social media to spread false information to manipulate public discussion.
The committee also cited Muratov for his decades of work defending freedom of speech in Russia “under increasingly challenging conditions.” Muratov — a founding member of the group of journalists who launched Novaya Gazeta in 1993 — has overseen the newspaper’s investigations and critical reporting on Kremlin politics, corruption, war and human rights. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists- Muratov helped to create ‘the only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today’. His investigative reports include the Kremlin’s hands in the Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine.
Muratov’s newspaper review has been influential on elucidating the turbulent situations in Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus in general. In the course of its journey since inception, Novaya Gazeta has lost six journalists at the hands of assassins in a space of nine years.
In 2000, Igor Domnikov was boggled in a Moscow apartment structure. In 2001, Victor Popkov, a Novaya Gazeta contributor, failed after being wounded in the crossfire of a gunfight in Chechnya.
In 2003, Yury Shchekochikhin was poisoned after probing a corruption reproach where high- ranking Russian officers were involved.
Anna Politkovskaya, 30 August 1958, was a human rights activist. It was on Russian political reporting— the Second Chechen War, in the Novaya Gazeta which made her famous both nationally and internationally. She was assassinated in her apartment block in 2006 after spending her career covering Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus.
In 2009, Anastasia Baburova was shot and killed on the road, while Natalia Estemirova was kidnapped and executed.
The above-mentioned colleagues of discerning journalist Muratov deserve the real mention and he gave them the accolade.
Now comes the future Nobel Laureates. Who will be awarded the prize in future? Does the question sound weird? The technologies which are knocking at the next door like Blockchain, Big Data Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), space tourism, cryptocurrencies Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0) etc. Exactly these ideas will not bag the lucrative prize rather the fallouts of the use of these technologies— in other words, people who will tackle the fallouts of much-vaunted scientific inventions using knowledge of physics, chemistry, physiology, economics etc will pocket the prize. Suppose the world is on the cusp of space tourism — thanks to the initiatives of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — when around 18,000 debris of space crafts have already littered the space. A future physicist will get the Nobel Physics Prize for propounding a theory of cleaning space and an activist or a group of activists cleaning those debris using a spaceship will get the Nobel Peace Prize.
Or an economist will be shortlisted for getting the Nobel Economics Prize for giving a theory on how to check the fallout of Artificial Intelligence. As most of the jobs will be replaced by Artificial Intelligence, so an economic theory is a must on how to check human job losses. Or theorisation of jobless people’s landing in slavery will be necessary in future. Such an anti-slavery economist-cum-theorist will get a Nobel Economics Prize and some people doing activism on the theories are likely be named for the Nobel Peace Prize in future.
Nobel Literature Prize is likely to be awarded to new genres AI, IoT, 4IR etc. Primarily the prizes are most likely to be awarded for eulogizing the ideas highly and then for criticising the fallouts like Bangladesh Bank cyberheist softly. In fact, the litterateurs who will delineate the way forward and suggest ways to absorb the shock of 4IR, Blockchain, Big Data, cryptocurrencies, AI, IoT etc in their pieces of work, will be Nobel Laureates.