Other Nobel recipients far more deserving

Willard S. Boyle, George E. Smith, Thomas A. Steitz, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, Jack W. Szostak, and Barack Obama.  Recognize any of these names?  All seven are Americans but, aside from the last name listed, few people other than relatives, friends and colleagues would recognize the names of the six other men and women. 

Boyle and Smith shared in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics; Steitz received one-third of the Chemistry award; and Blackburn, Greider and Szostak split this year’s prestigious award in Medicine.  Still, the only person likely to be recognized by the average American as a 2009 Nobel laureate is President Obama. This, despite the fact that the research and professional accomplishments by the other six awardees will positively affect the lives of virtually every American citizen, far more than will the actions taken by Obama that secured for him the Nobel honor.

Headlines encircled the globe in October heralding Obama’s selection as the 2009 Peace Prize recipient.  However, the shallow justification for the Nobel committee’s decision forced even the president to note in his December 10th acceptance that, his “accomplishments are slight” and that his selection therefore generated “considerable controversy.”  The Nobel committee itself seemed to anticipate its decision would be met with some degree of skepticism, if not derision, when it declared Obama the winner not for having yet done anything, but simply because he represented “hope for a better future” and possessed an as-yet unrealized “vision” for peace. 

On the other hand, the awards received by Obama’s fellow Americans Boyle, Smith, Steitz, Blackburn, Greider and Szostak, were based on much more than “hope” and “vision.”  Each one of these men and women of science and medicine – and their co-winners from China, Great Britain, and Israel – was recognized for his or her years of hard work and extensive research in their chosen fields.  The importance and tangible benefits of their pioneering work could hardly be overstated.

Thomas Steitz’s work in chemistry centers on principles that, while decidedly esoteric for the non-chemist layperson, actually may dramatically and positively affect us all.  Specifically, Steitz employed x-ray crystallography imaging techniques to more precisely determine the atomic structure of crystalline substances.  When this technique is applied to certain bacteria and antibodies, Steitz’s work transcends the theoretical and enters the very real world of designing new and potentially life-saving antibiotics.

The work for which recipients Willard Boyle and George E. Smith received their physics award extends back to the late 1960s.  Their pioneering efforts involving imaging semiconductors laid the foundation for the recent explosion in digital imaging that has revolutionized photography and telecommunications.  While few Americans know what a “charge-coupled device” is, without it, innumerable devices from hand-held digital recorders to the giant Hubble space telescope currently mapping the cosmos would not have been possible.

In the field of medicine, the three recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize all hail from the US.  Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak have been laboring since the early 1980s to unravel the mysteries of cell genomes — elusive micro structures that hold the keys to a vast array of molecular biology endeavors.  The work of these three medical researchers has added greatly to understanding the mysteries of DNA, and to the development of ways to therapeutically target diseases. 

Barack Obama may in the future — during or following his tenure as president — accomplish great things for the cause of world peace.  The Nobel committee apparently believes he already has. However, without detracting from Obama’s great potential in this regard, it would have been nice if someone, somewhere – perhaps even the president himself in his acceptance speech – had noted these other honorees who already have accomplished so much of real substance to improve the lives of all Americans.

73 comments Add your comment

neoCarlinist

December 21st, 2009
9:25 am

Bob, I’m not sure if this screed is…er noble (shining light on some pretty impressive Americans) or a covert birther-speak attack on Obama. don’t get me wrong, the President has offered much column fodder, but I d not belive his birth certificate or the Nobel Prize to be among pressing issues of the day. like the BCS rankings (which the President, opposed, as if he has the time to debate the merits of a playoff for NCAA Division 1 Football), the Nobel “Peace” Prize is a beauty contest, which defers to form over substance. I do not take issue with Obama for “winning” the prize. it’s not like he has any say in the matter. this “prize” reflects the attitudes and agenda of a handful of Scandanavian gadflies, and

Richard

December 21st, 2009
9:44 am

I am a proud-as-hell liberal Democrat who voted for Obama and was thrilled with his election. However, the Nobel Peace Prize given to him is truly a travesty. I am embarrassed for him and the prize committee.

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

December 21st, 2009
9:51 am

The same could be said for the science recipients every year. Why aren’t you on your soapbox then Bob?

Fred

December 21st, 2009
9:52 am

Obama is doing a fine job of continuing the downfall of America started this century by his predecessors so he’s got that going on.

Wage War. Monopolize Money. Waste Wealth. Control Citizenry.

A fine job indeed.

Fred

December 21st, 2009
9:57 am

Bob, it’s pretty apparent that you started celebrating the Christmas holidays before writing this column, because your brain and rationale were in different places. I think the overused, redundant and brainless term that’s used whenever someone states the obvious is disingenuous. This column is so disingenuous. The points you make are so obvious to even the most casual observer, that the village idiot would think this is a stupid article. Even President Obama said he didn’t think he deserved the award so what great insights, deep meanings and hidden mysteries are you illuminating in today’s column? Makes you want to say hmmmmmm.

Jess

December 21st, 2009
10:06 am

Nobel Prizes just ain’t what they used to be!

Recovering Demoholic

December 21st, 2009
10:11 am

@neoCarlinist
“…Nobel “Peace” Prize is a beauty contest….” “…Obama for ‘winning’….”

Designed to recognize achievement and excellence, it is awarded to and not won by people who are nominated.

In ObaMao’s case, his award was received as a result of a nomination period that closed a mere two weeks into his taking office. This awarding was for words, so far completely unfulfilled and often times belied by his own (as IL Sen, US Sen, and US Pres) and his administration’s deeds.

This particular bestowal was to reinforce the continuance of a dangerous group think, that our Nation ought to move further in a direction that puts us under some New World Order in which the ‘workers of our country’ have no vote, but provide the alms for a socialism here and abroad.

DAVID

December 21st, 2009
10:36 am

FORGET IT BOB……THE NOBEL IS NOW A COMPLETE …JOKE.

Johnny

December 21st, 2009
10:53 am

Bob, you’re an idiot!

Eric

December 21st, 2009
10:54 am

How can someone win a peace prize while sending troops to war?

Audrey in Georgia

December 21st, 2009
11:00 am

Bob, it is sad that you want to end the year with more negative articles about the President.
I believe in honor of the peace prize, YOU should find something that will be recognized as a
gesture for peace.

Another Republican Einstein.

December 21st, 2009
11:07 am

Boo hoo. Let me get out my violin. I love seeing pi**ed-off conservatives.

DAVID

December 21st, 2009
11:12 am

OBAMA’s Nobel Prize was a slam at Bush…….nothing more.

DAVID

December 21st, 2009
11:14 am

MY GESTURE OF PEACE………BOMB IRAN….BOMB CUBA.

Jess

December 21st, 2009
11:14 am

Conservatives aren’t mad about this. It is just sad to see yet another once honorable institution become just a political forum and advocacy medium.

Fair and Balanced

December 21st, 2009
11:49 am

Does Bob suffer from some sort of delayed reaction syndrome?

jconservative

December 21st, 2009
12:21 pm

I am enough of an America First type guy that an American winning the Nobel is OK with me. That is a whole bunch of European money headed in this direction, for a change.

therese persaud

December 21st, 2009
12:39 pm

Audrey in Georgia … for all their talk about being patriotic and loving the U.S., these ‘patriots’obviously love only accomplishments by ‘WHITE ‘ recipients !!!!!! Face it , we are still a nation of bigots ! I should know I live in this neck of the woods. Hmmmmmm just wonder what Barr would have thought if , by a stretch of truth, Bush had won?

deathportal

December 21st, 2009
12:59 pm

If you wouldn’t give George W. Bush a Peace Prize (and why would you–he was a War Monger of the highest order) then why would you give it to the person who carries on the same wars, and even escalates one of them?

For the life of me, I don’t understand why the neo-cons call Obama a “coward” on foreign policy, when he’s giving them exactly what King George gave them, and they lapped it up like dogs from King George.

Skip

December 21st, 2009
1:15 pm

Somehow this is Obama’s fault?

hammer of god

December 21st, 2009
1:29 pm

your mustache makes you look like a pecker-puffer.. have a nice day. please drive through.

JMC

December 21st, 2009
1:52 pm

I control the awarding of a prize. Guess what? I can give it to whomever I choose!!

Hard Right Hook

December 21st, 2009
2:04 pm

DAVID

December 21st, 2009
10:36 am
FORGET IT BOB……THE NOBEL IS NOW A COMPLETE …JOKE.

Absolutley!!! They day they “awarded” one to Yassar Arafat, the “prize” became nothing but cheap, shiny junk.

arnold

December 21st, 2009
2:34 pm

I don’t understand the interest in the Nobel Peace Prize. They give out a Gazillion Nobel Prizes. So, what’s the big deal? It’s just another prize now days. Why hyper ventilate over it?

sam

December 21st, 2009
2:42 pm

what a waste of space this column is….i’m curious, did mr obama go out and ask to be given this award? you act as if he campaigned for it or something. did he deserve it? no. in the grand scheme of things does it really matter? no. much like bob and this newspaper column he has been awarded, its not really been earned, but somebody thought it was a good idea and it would’ve been rude to say no.

sam

December 21st, 2009
2:42 pm

c’mon hammer, thats just mean.

StevenCee

December 21st, 2009
2:46 pm

In looking forward to more hard-hitting columns, pointing out areas where our rights are being abused, &/or stripped away, I’ve lately been quite disappointed in the pointless, & yes Fred, disingenuous, petty attacks on the president. Really, you didn’t like him, the Commander-in-Chief, about to send 30,000 soldiers into harm’s way, to actually face them, when breaking the news? And now, months after the fact, you just have to pile on with more criticism of Obama’s selection, even somehow blaming him, as if he had anything to do with it, much less even would have, if he could. To this I say, WHY? What’s the point?

It only makes you look small & petty, instead of man not afraid to stand on principles, please, get back to speaking on stuff that matters….

Sunshine and Thunder

December 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

Steve

December 21st, 2009
3:15 pm

I am really interested in something news worthy, like why would any georgian in their right mind vote for John Oxedine.

Chris Broe

December 21st, 2009
3:40 pm

Bob Barr is…..RIGHT! The Nobel Prize Committee isn’t going to let Obama nuke Iran and North Korea like he wanted. How can Obama nuke them now? He’s just won the Nobel Peace Prize! Do you have any idea how stupid that would be?

Acceptance Speech from Obama at the Nobel Peace Prize Roast:

“Ahem. I am happy to accept this award and I’m happy to announce that I have outlawed Iran and North Korea forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.”

How stupid would THAT be? AND worse, it could just trigger the Mayan/Nostradomas armeggedon global shrinking thing that is supposed to kill us all.

I hate award shows. Marlon Brando hated award shows. What did Sir Thomas Moore say about gifts? “By reason of gifts and bribes the offices be given to rich men, which should rather have been executed by wise men.”

Bob Barr was merely reinforcing the frustration that most Americans are feeling about not being able to nuke the Commies and the Islamists. That’s all. And it’s all the Nobel Peace Prize Committe’s fault, (the dirty rats).

The country is one at Christmas time. All is well.

The American People

December 21st, 2009
3:46 pm

Obama’s prize was a total joke, he knows it and the country knows it. His teleprompter is far more deserving.

To achieve health care reform, “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.” – Barack Obama. ?????????????????

Mike

December 21st, 2009
4:06 pm

That was funny (what someone above posted) that Bob Barr’s mustache makes him look like a pecker puffer. I was thinking the same thing. So true. Funny.

Mike

December 21st, 2009
4:17 pm

I think they gave Obama the prize because he is the first president since Bush Sr. that actually speaks the English language correctly. Clinton sounded like a hick, and Dubya sounded like a child (a dumb child at that).

Rockerbabe

December 21st, 2009
4:55 pm

Oh, here we go again! Complaining about what Prez Obama has or hasn’t done about an award, he accepted on behalf of the American people, the money grant will go to charity and he stated on several occasions that he considered the Nobel prize a “call to action” and that he did not deserve the honor.

President Obama has set about an ambitious foreign policy initiative with SoS Clinton as the ball-carrier. Give him some time to make accomplishments happen that will give rise to his words on accepting the award. The Nobel Committe stated that they felt the prize would spur peace efforts and that was the reason for it being given to him. Take these people at their word; they have a heavy burden and have chosen an inexperienced and ambitious new US President to be the bearer of such a heavy task. That says an aweful lot about their opinion of the American people and their chosen President. Patience is the word of choice now. Give him time, just give him time. Pray for him, that he can assist the bringing of peace to this war-torn world we live in.

Gerald West

December 21st, 2009
5:40 pm

Mr. Barr, President Obama did more for world peace than any of the others you name.

He wrested political power from a lot of incompetent loose cannons, and changed the course of the world’s only superpower from unpredictable world menace to responsible leader for world peace and stability.

Obama deserves the all the peace prizes. Why do you disparage the man and everything he does or proposes? Your vision is clouded; is it petty politics or just petty jealousy?

Common Sense

December 21st, 2009
5:50 pm

I recently saw a great gas station sign that read:

“Free Nobel Peace Prize with fill-up”

Obama is a “made” president and just like that prize he doesn’t deserve the office ……….. notice I said “deserve” because unfortunately American liberal, lunatic, lemmings voted him in.

German Shepherd Dawg

December 21st, 2009
5:51 pm

Gerald,

Obama hasn’t done anything for world peace. He has only made America appear weak to the world, bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia and Emperor of Japan. Our enemies abroad are mocking us and thinking we are ripe for attack.

Responsible leader? Commandering one sixth of the US economy and demanding cap and trade legislation that will further cripple it in spite of the recent Climategate scandal that has shown it’s all a lie, concocted as a money grab by “green” companies so we overpay for energy.

What he deserves is to lose Congress next year and his office in three.

Jefferson

December 21st, 2009
5:56 pm

So what did Nobel invent? TNT?

Jefferson

December 21st, 2009
5:58 pm

Dyno-mite !!

bluemoon

December 21st, 2009
6:49 pm

How about an article on public figures who will never know such an achievement….and put your name and your fellow teabaggers at the top of the list…

Cornelius Cooper

December 21st, 2009
7:00 pm

Bob…

Get…over…it…

You sit there an want to act as if you’ve had an interest in who won this prize before Obama won.

Now that they gave the award to “that one”, you want to play “historian”.

Give me a break.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

December 21st, 2009
7:04 pm

The speech President Obama gave http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize is further proof that he is anointed and inspired by God Almighty – the Creator of the universe with Whom America’s Founders made covenant.

CIA veterans and other fascist, and crypto-fascist elements of the Roman Anti-Christ’s “Fifth Column,” such as you, Bob, assisted and covered-up Bush’s and Cheney’s committing 9/11 (Viz. “The New Pearl Harbor”). It is more than understandable that you and the various adulterers, pederasts, and draft-dodgers allied with you in the Gay Old Pervert party continue to seek to divide Our Nation and to diminish the People’s Elect.

Your Treason and Misprision of Treason shall not go unpunished, D.V.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

December 21st, 2009
7:12 pm

obama won the award because he is completely opposite Bush and Cheney and their neanderthal policies. The world celebrates the fact that those two war mongers are gone and that we have a president who seeks peace. Obama deserved the award and I applaud his selection!

Alltherightstuff

December 21st, 2009
7:33 pm

Bob, get another job.

He was recognized for the agenda and dream that inspires the right things to happen with our world. One world, one people. It can happen.

Encourage good behavior. Start with yourself and retire?

Common Sense

December 21st, 2009
7:57 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun:

How the heck would you know. You never even won a case for the Kingfish !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDtqDWv2B-k&feature=related (@ six minute mark)

Cream Daddy Puff Muffin

December 21st, 2009
8:02 pm

What most people don’t realize is that it was voted on back in February 2009 when Osama had been in office less than 30 days & still hadn’t done anything except pardon the USS Cole bomber who killed 11 people. You know the Nobel Peace prize is a joke when for the first time they have to come out defending theirselves about their monstrously horrible decision to give this award to the least deserving person they could have ever picked. Maybe he was picked because they think by borrowing $2T from China to give to all the banking boards & big wheels so they can give themselves exorbitant bonuses for bankrupting the banks they supposedly represent & leaving middle class America to pay for it while there’s less & less of us to pay for it because we’re all losing our jobs will somehow bring world peace.

M. D. Cain

December 21st, 2009
8:19 pm

Yassar Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore. These past winners tell me all I need to know about the commitee awarding the prize. Complete joke!

jopar

December 22nd, 2009
8:18 am

There are journalists “far more deserving” of a column than you.

Stan Kelley

December 22nd, 2009
1:08 pm

Why is the medicine award “prestigious” while Physics and Chemistry are just plain “awards?” The award of the Peace Prize has almost always been controversial such as when Theodore Roosevelt won in 1905, or when Martin Luther King won. I expect the scientific awards are controversial amongst those deeply involved in those fields. And the Literature prize is often very controversial among the broad audience who reads serious literature (of course there is no agreement on what serious literature is). The Peace Prize is a kind of “litmus” test (to use a chemistry term). You are, in your writing, on the far in of the resentment side. After all, you lost your seat to Linder and, as a “manager” of the Clinton impeachment you were publicly humiliated by Tom Harkin. But you can be charming in person as you were when we had lunch some years ago. You were doing some work for the ACLU. But I was interested that you were sympathetic to Arab causes. Maybe that is why you lost. You should have run for the seat Gingrey won. Then he could have continued to deliver babies, which is useful.

Hard Right Hook

December 23rd, 2009
10:33 am

Chris Broe

December 21st, 2009
3:40 pm
“Bob Barr is…..RIGHT! The Nobel Prize Committee isn’t going to let Obama nuke Iran and North Korea like he wanted. How can Obama nuke them now? He’s just won the Nobel Peace Prize! Do you have any idea how stupid that would be?”

The “Prize Committee” won’t let Obama nuke Iran………? Who’s running this country? A rank amatuer, no experience and beholding to any group or person that will deify him at the next opportunity.

As for “nuking” Iran, there’s no need to worry. Israel is way ahead of the Messiah, and they don’t need his Absolute King of the World permission.