Nobel prize medal

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

The 2017 Nobel season remains to be beneath means, with the prizes for peace, and economics but to be introduced.

However for the sciences, this 12 months’s work is completed and lots of within the scientific group are noticing some similarities in regards to the winners.

Within the case of physics, the successful discovery had already been making international headlines.

The prize was shared by three researchers for the groundbreaking 2015 detection of gravitational waves.

For chemistry, the committee recognised the much less publicised work of creating a new microscopy technique, which the Nobel committee mentioned had “moved biochemistry into a brand new period”.

For physiology or drugs, a crew who uncovered a better understanding our body clocks was honoured.

Nonetheless, the science group was fast to note that this 12 months’s laureates all had one factor in widespread.

BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational girls around the globe yearly. In 2017, we’re difficult them to sort out 4 of the largest issues dealing with girls right now – the glass ceiling, feminine illiteracy, harassment in public areas and sexism in sport.

Along with your assist, they will be arising with real-life options and we would like you to become involved along with your concepts. Discover us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use #100Ladies


With prizes typically awarded years, and even a long time, after the discoveries that advantage them, it was a possibility for celebration for the groups concerned.

The Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, mentioned the three physicists honoured by the Nobel Committee had been “excellent people whose contributions had been distinctive and complementary”.

But regardless of being excited by the broader recognition of this groundbreaking analysis, it’s clear that many scientists really feel a change is important.

Solely 17 girls have been awarded a Nobel prize within the three science classes for the reason that awards’ inception in 1901. There have been no black science laureates.

Of the 206 physics laureates recognised, two have been girls – Marie Curie (1903) and Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963).

There are extra males named Robert on the record of earlier chemistry winners than there are feminine laureates.

Some researchers on Twitter took challenge with the present standards for awarding the Nobel. Every prize can’t be shared by greater than three individuals, laureates should not nominated posthumously, and nomination lists are stored confidential for 50 years.

Vera Rubin, Lise Meitner and Jocelyn Bell Burnell had been all cited as worthy potential recipients of a prize in earlier years.

Rubin’s demise in 2016 implies that her work on darkish matter, believed to occupy a lot of the mass within the universe, is now ineligible for recognition.

Meitner’s long-term collaborator Otto Hahn was awarded the chemistry prize for nuclear fission in 1944, which she didn’t share, regardless of being nominated in earlier and subsequent years.

Burnell and Chien-Shiung Wu, each physicists, additionally noticed their colleagues win for analysis they’d labored on, however weren’t included.

Given the lifelong status of changing into a Nobel laureate, the prize is a big increase to any researcher’s profession. The acclaim can legitimise a life’s work, and yield worldwide notoriety in a subject the place funding is very aggressive.

But for ladies in physics and chemistry, there are few forerunners to aspire to. Medication does solely barely higher, with 12 feminine laureates.

Different prizes equivalent to literature typically fare higher by way of gender equality, with earlier winners together with Alice Munroe, Doris Lessing and Toni Morrison.

This 12 months the literature prize has gone to a Japanese-British male creator – Kazuo Ishiguro.

Whereas equality initiatives like Athena Swan and organisations like Stemettes work to advertise and encourage girls, the Nobels stay probably the most distinguished glass ceiling on this planet of science.

As a part of this 12 months’s 100 Ladies Problem, a crew in Silicon Valley, the place girls maintain only one in 10 senior positions, will probably be ways to tackle the glass ceiling.

They reveal their outcomes on Friday 6 October.