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Nobel Prize: The Story of Failures, Returns, Disappearances of the Most Prestigious Science Award
Nobel Prize: The Story of Failures, Returns, Disappearances of the Most Prestigious Science Award
One of the most prestigious awards in the world

Even a person far from science knows what a Nobel Prize is. What can we say about the prestige of this award among scientists, writers, public figures. The Nobel Prize dates back to 1901. And, of course, during this period, there were many interesting cases associated with its delivery or non-delivery. This review contains the brightest of them.

Forced refusal

History of the Nobel Prize: Forced Refusal. Boris Pasternak

“Well, how can you refuse the Nobel Prize ?!”, you ask. It is possible, and not always according to one's own convictions. This happened to our writer Boris Pasternak in 1958. It was then that the Nobel Committee sent him the happy news of the award for the novel "Doctor Zhivago." To which the writer responded with a telegram: "Infinitely grateful, touched, proud, surprised, embarrassed." After that, the persecution of Pasternak by the Central Committee of the CPSU began. In his own country, the work of his entire life was considered anti-Soviet, and the recognition of his talent was a hostile attitude towards the state.

Attacks continued in newspaper articles, Boris Leonidovich was expelled from the Writers' Union, all the plays he translated were removed from the repertoires of theaters. The last straw in the cup was the demand to deprive him of his Soviet citizenship. All these circumstances forced the writer to refuse a well-deserved award. This is not the only rejection of the Nobel Prize in the entire history of its existence. But this story is tragic for our country, because the writer himself never lived to see the happy moment of restoration of justice. A diploma and a medal were awarded to the son of the writer.

Happy return

History of the Nobel Prize: Lucky Medal. James Watson

This story happened relatively recently. And she is associated with the great biologist James Watson and Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov. Watson and his colleagues received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for the discovery of DNA, modeling the structure of its molecule. It really became a revolution in the scientific world and contributed to the decoding of the human genome. In recent years, the scientist has been researching cancer and finding a cure for it.

History of the Nobel Prize: Lucky Medal. Alisher Usmanov

After the termination of payment of royalties for textbooks, the only income remained salaries. It is unlikely that this is the money that will help to carry out research in this area. To curtail scientific activity means to abandon the work of his whole life. Therefore, in 2014, Watson decides to sell his Nobel medal, despite the importance of this award to him. At the end of 2014, the lot was put up for auction at Christie's. And now there is an anonymous buyer who spends almost $ 5 million, he gets the medal.

As the businessman himself said, having learned about Watson's intention to sell his award and about where the money received would go, he did not doubt his decision at all. After all, cancer took the life of his father, and this contribution is only a small part of what he can do in the fight against this disease.

Mysterious disappearance

History of the Nobel Prize: Mysterious Disappearance. Niels Bohr

The fact that Hitler banned German citizens from receiving Nobel Prizes is widely known. This is due to the awarding of Karl von Ossietzky in 1935 for his criticism of Nazism. But there were many talented scientists in Germany, they deservedly received prizes and medals. Among them are physicists James Frank and Max von Laue. To protect their awards from confiscation, they deposit them at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen.

In 1940, Denmark was occupied by the Nazis.The scientists' awards were in danger; it was not possible to transport them to another place at such a difficult time. The Hungarian chemist György de Hevesy, who collaborated with Niels Bohr, came to the rescue. He proposed an original idea to save the medals - to dissolve them in "aqua regia". "Tsarskaya vodka" is a strong oxidizing agent, a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid concentrate, dissolves any metals, including gold - the king of metals (hence the name).

"Tsarskaya vodka" and gold

Attempts by the fascists to find values ​​were in vain. In this state, the medals survived the war, after which the staff of the institute separated the gold from the acid. New medals were cast from it at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. And von Laue and Frank again became the happy owners of such valuable awards, having gone through difficult times. So scientific ingenuity helped to get out of a difficult situation.

Continuing the topic, a story about peace prizes for money from the invention of dynamite and other paradoxes from the life of Alfred Nobel - a genius that no one loved.

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