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Stephen Jay Gould

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dhdgsn
748586.  Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:02 pm Reply with quote

In Series H episode 3 Hoaxes Stephen Fry stated Stephen Jay Gould had won the Nobel Prize. He did not. There is no Nobel Prize for paleaontology or indeed Biology, only for Medicine and Physiology.

 
RLDavies
748786.  Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:34 am Reply with quote

Very true. The most prestigious prize Gould won was the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society (2008). This is awarded for "major advances in evolutionary biology".

There's not much information on the Linnean Society website, but I presume Gould won it for developing the theory of punctuated equilibrium. He was also a major figure in the evolution of embryonic development, or "evolutionary development biology" as his Wikipedia article puts it; and put forward the "spandrels" argument that not every feature of an organism is necessarily a direct result of evolutionary selection.

 
Waternet
784893.  Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:22 pm Reply with quote

Whilst it is correct that there is NO Nobel Prize for paleaontology or biology, there is one for Physics. In 1952 Stephen Gould and Edward M. Purcell won the prize for work on magnetism in atomic nuclei

 
Moosh
784919.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:32 am Reply with quote

Waternet wrote:
Whilst it is correct that there is NO Nobel Prize for paleaontology or biology, there is one for Physics. In 1952 Stephen Gould and Edward M. Purcell won the prize for work on magnetism in atomic nuclei

The 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Edward M. Purcell and Felix Bloch "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith".

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1952/index.html#

 
Neotenic
784941.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:21 am Reply with quote

There's also the small matter that in 1952, SJG was eleven.

 
suze
785141.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:36 pm Reply with quote

Ooh, now then. I think I know how Waternet may have arrived at his erroneous understanding, and it may be because of a horrible dangle in the New York Times.

Professor Gould kept baseball statistics in his spare time, and so did Professor Purcell. And an NYT article about baseball statistics (24 May 2010) said:

"Scientists including Stephen Jay Gould and Edward M. Purcell who won the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics for work on magnetism in atomic nuclei have dabbled in baseball statistics mostly as a diversion from more substantive matters."

Horrible sentence, and it's easy to see how it could be misunderstood.

 
samivel
785142.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:39 pm Reply with quote

And some folk say commas don't matter.

 

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