Armen Sargsyan, Yerevan
Bob Dylan was singing in Las Vegas, when there came media reports that he had been awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. The British press tried to contact Dylan to get his comments, but it was all in vain. He didn’t even announce that news at the concert and continued performing as if nothing had happened:
God say, ‘You can do what you want Abe, but the next time you see me comin’ you better run’
It was the first time that the Nobel Committee awarded the literature prize to the musician and it came in for quite expected criticism.
None of the Swiss Academy’s decisions ever passed smooth over the past century. It happened sometimes that the laureates themselves criticized the Committee for making decision in their favor. When justifying its decisions, the Academy itself often gave the occasion for press and public to crack down on it.
Let’s say, Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for Nobel’s Peace Prize in 1937, 1938 and 1939, and all three times he was rejected by the Nobel Committee. He was nominated for the fourth time in 1948 and that once the positive decision was finally made. However, Gandhi was assassinated a few days before the ceremony. The Committee refused to award him the prize on the ground that there was ‘no suitable living candidate, who could get it.’
This explanation, which resembled more a soviet-style housing office certificate, caused a great public stir. To redress the situation, in 1989, the Nobel’s Peace Prize was awarded to Dalai Lama allegedly as ‘a tribute to the memory of Gandhi’.
Thus, the Committee downgraded the living laureate’s merits and was once again subjected to criticism. Could you imagine Arnold Sommerfeld’s feelings, who was nominated for and rejected the Nobel Prize 81 times?
Criticism was also voiced from time to time in the contest committee itself. However, ‘Eurocentrism’, i.e. a tendency to praise and be boast of the scientific achievements of one’s own continent. Probably, for that very reason an alternative ironic version of the real Nobel Prize, Ig Nobel Prize, was set up.
Believe it or not, but the authors and organizers of this ‘mockery’ prize, are the real Nobel Prize laureates. Ig Nobel awards ceremony is held at Harvard University’s most renowned Sanders Theatre. Here, the laureates are cheered up by Miss Sweetie Poo and the stage is ‘bombed’ with paper planes, made by the world’s most prominent scholars, who are attending the ceremony.
The U.S. Public Radio provides full broadcast of the event. The winners of Ig Nobel 2016 are already known and this remarkable anti-Nobel event will be held on November 29 this year. Now, briefly about the winners:
Prize in Psychology has been awarded to Evelyne Debey, a scholar at Ghent University). She conducted a survey among liers to find out, whether they really lie or not.
Christoph Helmchen, a neurologist from the University of Luebeck, is a winner of the Prize in Medicine. He has developed a theory, under which, if one looks in the mirror, he/she will find and scratch an itch on one’s body not mixing up the right and the left sides. Here are some of his test samples and numerous schemes of how to find an itch on one’s body
Fredrik Sjoberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his three-volume autobiographic novel he is continuously experiencing pleasure collecting handful of dead flies, rather than the living ones.
Over the years, the prize was awarded to Taiwan Parliament; Singapore Prime Minister; Volkswagen Company and once even to the UN Secretary General. The prize winners deliver special lectures at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is regarded as one of world’s best higher education institutions. 85 real Nobel Prize laureates and 34 astronauts were affiliated with this very institution.
After all that, the Nobel Committee’s decision to award Bob Dylan the Literature Prize doesn’t seem to be very odd. People do whatever they want.
And that’s what Dylan says: ‘If God wants this killin’ done on Highway 61, then who is Abraham to resist it? God has already told him: ‘You can do what you want Abe, but the next time you see me comin’ you better run.’
Enjoy the ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. Bob Dylan, the Nobel Prize laureate, onstage