Project

Enacting Excellency: Awarding Nobel Prizes (or Not) in the Twentieth Century

Goal: The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious benchmark of scientific excellence in our time. It is used for ranking universities and gauging the scientific reputation of whole nations. This makes it the ideal example for investigating the mechanisms of scientific recognition. In this project, we look at the Nobel Prize as a case study of how excellence is enacted, how, in other words, particular achievements in medicine were selected and acknowledged as the most excellent in the field. The work will offer new perspectives on scientific reward mechanisms and the role of credit and priority in science and medicine. (PI: Nils Hansson)

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Why has no dentist received the Nobel Prize so far? To answer that question, we need to take a closer look at the prize candidates. This article presents an overview of scholars in the field of dental research who were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine during the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on archival sources in the archive of the Nobel Committee, we focus on the physiologist, Lady May Mellanby (1882-1978) and the dentist, Walter Hess (1885-1980). While Hess did not reach the shortlist, Mellanby was judged 'prize-worthy' by the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine but she never received the award in the end. In this paper, we discuss the impact of their work among dentists. Recent historical research argues that nominees, not only the prize-winners of renowned awards, can help to reconstruct trends in medicine over time.This paper takes a new approach on the history of dental research and shows why the oral health researchers Lady May Mellanby and Walter Hess were runners-up for the Nobel Prize.On a more general level, the article raises questions about the gender award gap and why so few women have received the most prestigious prizes in medicine. Recent historical research argues that nominees, not only the prize-winners of renowned awards, can help to reconstruct trends in medicine over time. This paper takes a new approach on the history of dental research and shows why the oral health researchers Lady May Mellanby and Walter Hess were runners-up for the Nobel Prize. On a more general level, the article raises questions about the gender award gap and why so few women have received the most prestigious prizes in medicine.
Nils Hansson
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Background Between 1901 and 1953, a total of 5110 persons were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This time period spans both world wars and touches on the question of how the Nobel Committees dealt with German prize candidates.PurposeThe nominations of the German pathologist Franz Büchner for the Nobel Prize will be used to examine the extent to which it played a role in the awarding of the prize if some of the research results to be honoured were obtained during the National Socialist era. The article also presents an overview of all pathologists from Germany who were nominated for the Nobel Prize during the first half of the 20th century.Materials and methodsData from the nomination archive in Stockholm as well as nomination letters and expert opinions of the Nobel Committee (Nobel Archive) were analysed. Franz Büchner’s nomination is examined in more detail as an example, because the nominators justified their proposal with Büchner’s publications traced here, that in part originated from the National Socialist era.Results and discussionFranz Büchner was nominated by three German professors in 1963. Both areas for which he was to be awarded concerned his research on the influence of oxygen deficiency on the function and development of the human organism. In the end, Büchner’s achievements were deemed not worthy of the Nobel Prize. His role as a military researcher during National Socialism and the knowledge of hypoxia acquired during this period do not seem to have had a negative impact on the Nobel Prize evaluation.
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The History, Uses and Future of the Nobel Prize in Italy, organized by the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Sapienza University Rome, and the Swedish Embassy in Italy.
Interested? Please drop me a note
Poster by Giacomo Padrini
 
Giacomo Padrini
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As the Nobel Prize is considered to be the most prestigious award in the world, it is not surprising that already much has been written about it. Whilst the majority of studies have focused on the laureates, this article sheds light on the much larger group of nominees for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in Italy during the first half of the 20th Century. Drawing on information from the Nobel archives and secondary literature this article reconstructs some structures behind the nominations including popular research topics, cities and nominators. We found candidates to pool in few cities and identified infectious diseases as a prevalent research topic among the nominees during the examined time period. Having found the vast majority of nominations to originate in Italy with nominator and nominee often holding positions in the same university, this study also discusses factors that might have influenced the choice of the nominators without necessarily being related to the work of the nominee itself. See: https://mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/MedHistor/article/view/12456
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This paper examines how scientific excellence is performed in Nobel nominations for medical scientists. Performing excellence encompasses both conducting excellent scientific work and being recognized for it. Both dimensions are closely intertwined: doing and recognizing excellent work depend on each other. Tracing nominations from the Nobel Archives in Solna, Sweden, the paper shows that Nobel Prizes are only the tip of the iceberg of networks of scientific recognition, which belong to cultures of excellence. Approaching cultures of excellence through nominations helps to understand how scientific prizes were awarded. The nominations show that science is not just a cognitive activity but also a social endeavour, and that the decision about who is awarded the Nobel Prize is also an outcome of social processes. Analysing the nomination networks thus explains to a certain extent the predominance of researchers from the USA versus Canada (and other countries). It shows, among other things, that a proactive policy of Nobel Prize nominations is part of the culture of excellence in which American scientists often participate. The mechanisms of scientific recognition as reflected in Nobel Prize nomination networks and rhetoric give insight into the patterns and the background of awarding the prize.
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Book launch in the Swedish Embassy in Vienna on 5 October
 
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Zusammenfassung Dieser Aufsatz befasst sich mit den Nobelpreisnominierungen für den Neurologen und Neurochirurgen Otfrid Foerster (1873–1941). Foerster wurde 17 Mal für den Nobelpreis für Physiologie oder Medizin nominiert. Aufbauend auf Akten des Stockholmer Nobelpreisarchives, Primär- und Sekundärliteratur wird auf folgende Fragen eingegangen: Welche Gründe gab es für Foersters Nominierungen? Wie sah die Beziehung zwischen ihm und seinen Nominatoren aus? Warum hat er letztlich den Nobelpreis nicht erhalten? Das Gros der Nominatoren für Foerster hob als Hauptmotiv sein gemeinsam mit Oswald Bumke herausgegebenes Handbuch der Neurologie hervor. Den Nominatoren zufolge hatte Foerster mit diesem Handbuch einen enormen Einfluss auf die Neurologie seiner Zeit. Darüber hinaus wurde sein „ehrenvoller Charakter“ in den Nominierungsbriefen unterstrichen. Für das Nobelkomitee waren diese Begründungen jedoch nicht ausreichend: Die Mitglieder stuften das Handbuch nicht als originäre Forschungsleistung ein. Foersters Ruhm reicht trotzdem bis in die Gegenwart, etwa in Form einer seit 1953 von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie vergebenen Ehrung, die seinen Namen trägt (Otfrid-Foerster-Medaille).
Nils Hansson
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Purpose To date, 11 scientists have received the Nobel Prize for discoveries directly related to cancer research. This article provides an overview of cancer researchers nominated for the Nobel Prize from 1901 to 1960 with a focus on Ernst von Leyden (1832–1910), the founder of this journal, and Karl Heinrich Bauer (1890–1978). Methods We collected nominations and evaluations in the archive of the Nobel committee of physiology or medicine in Sweden to identify research trends and to analyse oncology in a Nobel Prize context. Results We found a total of 54 nominations citing work on cancer as motivation for 11 candidates based in Germany from 1901 to 1953. In the 1930s, the US became the leading nation of cancer research in a Nobel context with nominees like Harvey Cushing (1869–1939) and George N. Papanicolaou (1883–1962). Discussion The will of Alfred Nobel stipulates that Nobel laureates should have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind”. Why were then so few cancer researchers recognized with the Nobel medal from 1901 to 1960? Our analysis of the Nobel dossiers points at multiple reasons: (1) Many of the proposed cancer researchers were surgeons, and surgery has a weak track record in a Nobel context; (2) several scholars were put forward for clinical work and not for basic research (historically, the Nobel committee has favoured basic researchers); (3) the scientists were usually not nominated for a single discovery, but rather for a wide range of different achievements.
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Background Since 1901, at least 15 scholars who contributed to cardiovascular research have reveiced a Nobel prize in physiology or medicine. Methods Using the Nobel nomination database (nobelprize.org), which contains 5950 nominations in the accessible period from 1901 to 1953 in physiology or medicine, we listed all international nominees who contributed to cardiovascular research. We subsequently collected nomination letters and jury reports of the prime candidates from the archive of the Nobel Committee in Sweden to identify shortlisted candidates. Results The five most frequently nominated researchers with cardiovascular connections from 1901 to 1953 were, in descending order, the surgeon René Leriche (1879–1955) (FR) with a total of 79 nominations, the physiologist and 1924 Nobel laureate Willem Einthoven (1860–1927) (NL) (31 nominations), the surgeon Alfred Blalock (1899–1964) (US) (29 nominations), the pharmacologist and 1936 Nobel laureate Otto Loewi (1873–1961) (DE, AT, US) (27 nominations) and the paediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig (1898–1986) (US) (24 nominations). The research of these scholars merely hints at the width of topics brought up by nominators ranging from the physiological and pathological basics to the diagnosis and (surgical) interventions of diseases such as heart malformation or hypertension. Conclusion We argue that an analysis of Nobel Prize nominations can reconstruct important scientific trends within cardiovascular research during the first half of the twentieth century.
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Several physicians have been nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature, but so far none of them have received it. Because physicians as women and men of letters have been a major topic of feuilletons, seminars and books for many years, questions arise to what extent medicine was a topic in the proposals for the Nobel Prize and in the Nobel jury evaluations: how were the nominees enacted (or not) as physicians, and why were none of them awarded? Drawing on nomination letters and evaluations by the Nobel committee for literature collected in the archive of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, this article offers a first overview of nominated physician-author candidates. The focus is on the Austrian historian of medicine Max Neuburger (1868–1955), the German novelist Hans Carossa (1878–1956), and the German poet Gottfried Benn (1886–1956), but it also briefly takes further physician-author nominees into account such as Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and William Somerset Maugham (1874–1965). The article is part of an interdisciplinary medical humanities project that analyses nominations and committee reports for physicians and natural scientists nominated for the Nobel Prize from 1901 to 1970.
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Since the early stages of its academic professionalization, pharmacology has been an interdisciplinary field strongly influenced by the natural sciences. Using the Nobel Prize as a lens to study the history of pharmacology, this article analyzes nominations of pharmacologists for two Nobel Prize categories, namely "chemistry" and "physiology or medicine" from 1901 to 1950. Who were they? Why were they proposed, and what do the Nobel dossiers say about excellence in pharmacology and research trends? This paper highlights the evaluation of "shortlisted" candidates, i.e., those candidates who were of particular interest for the members of the Nobel Committee in physiology or medicine. We focus on the US scholar John Jacob Abel (1857-1938), repeatedly referred to as the "Founder of American Pharmacology." Nominated 17 times in both categories, Abel was praised by his nominators for both basic research as well as for his influential positions as editor and his work as chair at Johns Hopkins University. The Abel nominations were evaluated for the Nobel Committee in chemistry by the Swedish professor of chemistry and pharmaceutics Einar Hammarsten (1889-1968), particularly interested in Abel's work on hormones in the adrenal glands and in the pituitary gland. Eventually, Hammarsten did not view Abel's work prizeworthy, partly because other scholars had done-according to Hammarsten-more important discoveries in the same fields. In conclusion, analyses of Nobel Prize nominations help us to better understand various meanings of excellence in pharmacology during the twentieth century and beyond.
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Meldung:
Die Veranstaltungen im Einzelnen:
Montag, 5. Oktober, 11.30 Uhr: Nobelpreis für Physiologie oder Medizin
An diesem Tag laden Heinrich-Heine-Universität und die Charité (Berlin) gemeinsam zur ersten Veranstaltung ein. Mediziner der HHU und Wissenschaftler der Charité stehen für Fragen und Einschätzungen zur Verfügung. Das Event wird vom World Health Summit-Präsidenten Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten, Berlin, und vom Medizinhistoriker Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nils Hansson, Düsseldorf, moderiert, durch dessen Initiative die Veranstaltung der Bürgeruniversität der HHU zustande kam. Werden auch in diesem Jahr eher Grundlagenforscher bedacht, oder haben auch klinische Forschende eine Chance?
Dienstag, 6. Oktober, 11.45 Uhr: Nobelpreis für Physik
Prof. Dr. Georg Pretzler, Prof. Dr. Axel Görlitz und Prof. Dr. Hartmut Löwen (alle HHU) sowie Prof. Dr. Hans Stroeher (FZ Jülich) stehen nach der Bekanntgabe für Gespräche zur Verfügung. Wird, wie Alfred Nobel in seinem Testament wünschte, eine Leistung „aus dem vergangenen Jahr“ belohnt, zumindest aber eine Entdeckung der vergangenen Jahre? Oder kommt eine Wissenschaftlerpersönlichkeit für eine vor langer Zeit gemachte Erkenntnis zu Ehren?
Donnerstag, 8. Oktober, 13 Uhr: Nobelpreis für Literatur
Die Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaftlerin Prof. Dr. Soelve Curdts, Prof. Dr. Alexander Nebrig (Germanistik), Dr. Urs Büttner (Germanistik) und die Philosophin und Wissenschaftshistorikerin Dr. Chantal Marazia (Geschichte, Theorie und Ethik der Medizin) freuen sich auf ein Gespräch: Auf welchen Kontinent geht der Preis in diesem Jahr und was sagt das über die aktuellen Tendenzen in der Literatur aus?
Freitag, 9. Oktober, 11 Uhr: Friedensnobelpreis
Heute stehen Prof. Dr. Ulrich von Alemann (Politikwissenschaft), der Friedens- und Konfliktforscher Dr. Witold Mucha und die Politikwissenschaftlerin Nora Schrader-Rashidkhan (Universität Duisburg-Essen) zur Diskussion bereit: Wer hat „im vergangenen Jahr der Menschheit den größten Nutzen erbracht“?
Montag, 12. Oktober, 11.45 Uhr: Nobelpreis für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Ein letztes Mal richten sich heute alle Blicke nach Stockholm. In Düsseldorf ordnen nach der Bekanntgabe die Ökonomen Prof. Dr. Justus Haucap, Prof. Dr. Hans Theo Normann, Apl. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heimeshoff sowie Prof. Dr. Ulrike Neyer die prämierte Forschungsleistung ein.
Zum technischen Ablauf:
Alle Veranstaltungen werden über den YouTube-Kanal der HHU live gestreamt, Zuschauerinnen und Zuschauer können selbst aktiv werden und Fragen über den jeweils freigeschalteten Chat stellen.
Autor/in: Victoria Meinschäfer
 
Nils Hansson
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En forskargrupp vid institutionen för medicinens historia och etik vid universitetet i Düsseldorf, Tyskland, har undersökt varför världskända neurologer inte fick Nobelpriset under första hälften av 1900-talet. Nils Hansson, lyfter här fram några intressanta exempel och ger även tips till alla som aspirerar på ett Nobelpris i framtiden. (Neurologi i Sverige 2020:3:20-23)
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In diesem Jahr verkündet das Stockholmer Nobelpreiskomitee die Laureaten für
Physiologie oder Medizin am 5. Oktober um 11.30 Uhr. Diesen spannenden Moment
können Journalisten/-innen, Studierende, und interessierte Bürger/-innen beim „Nobel
Live Viewing“ zusammen mit Experten der Heinrich-Heine-Universität und der Charité
Berlin erleben.
Organisiert vom World Health Summit und von der Heinrich-Heine-Universität soll dieses besondere
Ritual genutzt werden, aktuelle Forschungstrends in der Medizin, die auch in Deutschland verfolgt
werden, in den Blick zu nehmen und die Bedeutung des Preises für die internationale Wissenschaft
zu reflektieren. Das Event wird vom World Health Summit-Präsidenten Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten,
Berlin, und vom Nobelpreishistoriker Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nils Hansson, Düsseldorf, moderiert.
Nach der Pressekonferenz des Nobelkomitees in Stockholm kommentieren
ausgewiesene Expertinnen und Experten aus Düsseldorf und Berlin die Forschungen der neuen
Preisträgerinnen und Preisträger, ordnen die preisgekrönte Arbeit in die jeweiligen
Forschungskontexte ein und stehen für Fragen zur Verfügung. Interessierte Kolleginnen und Kollegen sind herzlich geladen: Novel Live Viewing, Montag, 5. 10., 11.30-12.15 Uhr
 
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Introduction: This article provides for the first time an overview of the most often nominated European neurologists for the Nobel Prize, who never received the award. It sheds light on candidates from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the UK during the first half of the 20th century. The aim is to highlight the candidates in the field of neurology, to discuss key arguments in the nomination letters, and to raise questions about research trends and hotspots in European neurology 1901-1950. Methods: Using the Nobel nomination database which contains >5,000 nominations in the prize category physiology or medicine from 1901 to the early 1950s, we listed European neurologists who were nominated more than once during this time period. We then collected nomination letters and jury reports of the prime candidates in the archive of the Nobel Committee for physiology or medicine in Sweden to explore nomination networks and motives. Results: We pinpointed scholars like Joseph Babinski, Vladimir Bektherev, Sir Henry Head, Eduard Hitzig, and Ugo Cerletti. The nomination motives were diverse, ranging from "lifetime" achievements and textbooks to singular (eponymous) discoveries. Issues of scientific priority disputes were central in most nomination letters. Conclusion: Nobel Prize nominations constitute a lens through which credit and recognition around major contributions in neurology during the 20th century can be examined. They are unique sources that enable the reconstruction of both research trends in the field and the reputation of individual neurologists.
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This article scrutinises the life and work of the German caries researcher Carl Röse (1864-1947) - the first known dentist to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The starting point of the paper is Röse's curriculum vitae. The analysis then focuses on Röse's research on cariology, which led to his nomination, as well as the nomination itself. Further attention is given to Röse's other research interests, in particular his 'race studies' and his role in the 'Third Reich'. The paper is based on numerous contemporary primary sources, such as documents collected in the archive of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine in Solna, Sweden, as well as a critical re-analysis of secondary literature on Carl Röse and on the history of cariology and 'racial research'. It leads to the conclusion that Röse made significant contributions to the study of caries. Röse's study design can be regarded as a precursor of today's multi-centre studies. Nevertheless, the nomination remained a singular one. Moreover, it can be shown that Röse received special attention due to his pronounced racist views in the 'Third Reich'; this culminated in his being awarded the Miller Prize and the Goethe Medal presented by Hitler. Röse died after the collapse of the 'Third Reich' as a largely forgotten man.
Nils Hansson
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This paper reviews the files in the archive of the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine on the Austrian physiologist and pioneering researcher in the emerging fields of urology and sexual medicine: Eugen Steinach (1861-1944). It reconstructs and analyzes why and by whom Steinach was nominated for the Nobel Prize between 1920 and 1938 and discusses the reasons why he never received the award, although the Nobel Committee judged him as prizeworthy. Steinach's Nobel nominee career is extraordinary - not only because of his strong support by renowned international nominators from different scientific and medical disciplines, but also because of the controversial discussions within the Nobel Committee on his achievements, colored by the debates in the international scientific community. The Nobel Prize story adds a new perspective on how contemporary international scholars evaluated Steinach's research on reproduction, "male-making" females, "female-making" males, homosexuality, and the concept of rejuvenation.
Nils Hansson
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Purpose Several scholars with links to ENT have received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. This overview takes into account ENT Nobel nominees, who never received the award. Methods Drawing a comparison on the nominations collected in the archive of the Nobel Committee for physiology or medicine in Stockholm, the Nobel archive database and secondary literature; the paper analyzes for the first time the nominations of Hans Schmid (Stettin), Hermann Gutzmann (Berlin), Karl Wittmaack (Hamburg), and Chevalier Jackson (Chicago). We also bring up nomination letters written by prominent German nominators such as Hermann Schwartze (one of the founders of this journal) and August Lucae. Results Hans Schmid was the first surgeon to be brought up in a Nobel Prize nomination for an ENT procedure (1901), but since he had passed away 5 years earlier he was not evaluated by the Nobel Committee. Hermann Gutzmann was a strong candidate in 1917 and reached the shortlist because of his pioneering work on stutter, but no Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded that year. In the 1930′s, both Karl Wittmaack and Chevalier Jackson were repeatedly nominated for ENT research. Conclusion Nobel Prize nominations are to date underused sources that shed new light on some scholars in ENT history.
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One way to investigate research trends in pharmacology over time is to study nominations for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Going beyond the laureates with strong links to pharmacology, this article pinpoints pharmacologist Nobel Prize nominees during the first half of the twentieth century with a particular focus on two co-founders of this journal: Oswald Schmiedeberg and Bernhard Naunyn. Using the Nobel nomination database which contains more than 5000 nominations in the category physiology or medicine from 1901 to 1953, we listed all scholars (Nobel nominees or nominators) who worked in a pharmacological institute. In addition, we collected nomination letters of Schmiedeberg and Naunyn in the archive of the Nobel committee for physiology or medicine in Stockholm to explore nomination networks and motives. The most often nominated pharmacologists from 1901 to 1953 were Alfred Newton Richards with 57 nominations, Rudolf Magnus (31), Edward Calvin Kendall (28), Otto Loewi (27), Sir Henry Hallett Dale (21) and Oswald Schmiedeberg (18). Surprisingly, the lion’s share of the nominations was submitted by non-pharmacologists. We observed a decline in German nominations after World War II and an increase in US-American nominations, which indicates shifting centres and peripheries in pharmacological research. Furthermore, in our observed group of pharmacologists, there was no female nominee from 1901 to 1953. Nobel Prize nominations are to date an underused source to explore international scientific trends as well as scientific networks during the twentieth century.
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In comparison to other medical disciplines, cardiologists can look back on a high number of Nobel Prize awards; however, the unsuccessful Nobel Prize nominations for cardiologists remain mostly unnoticed. This article is part of a project dealing with the history of the Nobel Prize that has already covered several heart and cardiovascular physicians, such as the Nobel Prize laureate Werner Forssmann (1904–1979) as well as the nominations for Alfred Blalock (1899–1964) and Helen B. Taussig (1898–1986). Here, several Nobel Prize candidates from cardiology during the time period from 1901–1970 are examined with a special focus on the internal specialist from Cologne, Hugo Wilhelm Knipping (1895–1984). The analysis is based on Nobel Prize nominations and the assessments drawn from the Swedish Nobel Archive as well as literature from and about the candidates. An analysis of these sources not only adds new aspects to the history of cardiology but also questions the changing definitions of excellence up to the present day.
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Nils Hansson
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It’s Nobel season! Nobel History Group talks September-December 2019:
September 27-28, Bad Lippspringe, Germany: Excellence in Otolaryngology (Nils Hansson)
October 3, McGill University, Montreal, Canada: Performing Excellence – Nobel networks in North America (Nils Hansson, Thomas Schlich)
October 7, Düsseldorf University, Germany: Nobel Announcement Live Viewing followed by comments by Uni Düsseldorf researchers (Thorsten Halling, Nils Hansson)
November 8, Lund University, Sweden: Konsten att skriva en övertygande Nobelprisnominering (Nils Hansson)
December 2, Ulm University, Germany: Schriftstellerärzte als Kandidaten für den Literaturnobelpreis (Nils Hansson)
December 10, Aachen University, Germany: Der größte seit Hippokrates! Nobelpreisnominierungen für Ärzte im 20. Jahrhundert (Nils Hansson)
 
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This paper is open access https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004406421/BP000011.xml
Nils Hansson
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Symposium Program October 3, 2019, attached
Organizers: Nils Hansson & Thomas Schlich
 
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This chapter is published open access: https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004406421/BP000009.xml
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Attributing Excellence in Medicine discusses the aura around the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It analyzes the social processes and contingent factors leading to recognition and reputation in science and medicine. This volume will help the reader to better understand the dynamics of the attribution of excellence throughout the 20th century. Contributors are Massimiano Bucchi, Fabio De Sio, Jacalyn Duffin, Heiner Fangerau, Thorsten Halling, Nils Hansson, David S. Jones, Gustav Källstrand, Ulrich Koppitz, Pauline Mattsson, Katarina Nordqvist, Scott H. Podolsky, Thomas Schlich, and Sven Widmalm.
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Happy to announce that the volume "Attributing Excellence in Medicine: The History of the Nobel Prize" (eds Hansson, Halling, Fangerau) has been published. Five chapters (incl. foreword) open access. Have a look:
 
Nils Hansson
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Der deutsche „Schriftstellerarzt“ Gottfried Benn wurde während der frühen 1950er Jahre mehrfach für den Literaturnobelpreis vorgeschlagen. Nach Sichtung von Akten des Nobelarchivs in Stockholm sollen diese Nominierungen näher untersucht werden. Benns Gönner stellten nicht nur sein schriftstellerisches Schaffen heraus, sondern auch seine Verstrickungen während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus während der 1930er Jahre. Die Untersuchung ist Teil eines neuen interdisziplinären Projekts, das Nominierungen von Ärzten und Naturwissenschaftlern als Kandidaten für den Nobelpreis für Literatur zwischen 1901 und 1970 untersuchen möchte.
Nils Hansson
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This paper is an attempt to investigate the discourses around the Nobel Prize, and it aims at deciphering the commemoration of the award in Riga. The public image of the Nobel Prize in Riga has previously been commented on in a few papers, but has never been studied at length. The first part of the current study contextualises several Nobel links from the city, universities and state printed media, as well as more hidden tracks from the Nobel Prize nominations' archive. The second part highlights Ilya Mechnikov (Elie Metchnikoff's, Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine in 1908) collection in Pauls Stradins Museum of the History of Medicine, including a detailed description of his Nobel medal and his ambivalent feelings about this award. Acta medico-historica Rigensia (2018) XI: 92-120
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Forthcoming book: "Attributing Excellence in Medicine: The History of the Nobel Prize", edited by Nils Hansson, Thorsten Halling and Heiner Fangerau (Brill, 2019, in press)
Contributors: Massimiano Bucchi, Fabio De Sio, Jacalyn Duffin, Heiner Fangerau, Jeffrey Flier, Thorsten Halling, Nils Hansson, David S. Jones, Gustav Källstrand, Ulrich Koppitz, Pauline Mattsson, Katarina Nordqvist, Scott H. Podolsky, Thomas Schlich, and Sven Widmalm.
 
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Hansson N, Steinke H. Eine Tagung zu Geschichte und Nutzen von Wissenschaftspreisen: Vom Nobelpreis und anderen Auszeichnungen. Schweiz Ärzteztg. 2019;100(08):271-272
Online:
 
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„Braucht die Forschung Preise?“ Interdisziplinäre Diskussion in Bern am 10. Dezember 2018. Organisation: H. Steinke, N. Hansson
 
Nils Hansson
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Upcoming Symposium October 4 Harvard Medical School: “The History, Uses, and Future of the Nobel Prize”.
 
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Purpose This paper provides for the first time an overview of orthopaedic surgeons nominated for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine during the first six decades of the twentieth century. The study is part of the project “Enacting Excellency: Nobel Prize nominations for surgeons 1901-1960”. Methods The nomination letters were gathered in the archive of the Nobel Committee at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden. Results Among the nominees, we find renowned scholars like Pierre Delbet, Themistocles Gluck, Gerhard Küntscher, Adolf Lorenz, Friedrich Pauwels, Leslie Rush, and Marius Smith-Petersen. The focus of the paper is on nominations for Pauwels (work on biomechanics) and Küntscher (the Küntscher nail). Both were nominated by German surgeons. Conclusions Although no orthopaedic surgeon has yet received a Nobel Prize for an orthopaedic achievement, Nobel archive files can help reconstruct important trends in the field during the twentieth century.
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Discover the world’s best science and medicine | Nature.com
Nils Hansson
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Prizeworthy Research?” Wilhelm Roux and His Program of Developmental Mechanics. The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine is awarded annually to a maximum of three laureates. Not surprisingly, the number of nominees is much larger. Drawing on Nobel Prize nominations in the Nobel archives in Sweden, the core of this paper deals with the nomination letters for the physiologist Wilhelm Roux to discuss competition and some controversies among German physiologists around 1900 in this particular context. The paper (1) elucidates the arguments brought forward to portray Roux as a scientist who had conferred “the greatest benefit to mankind” in the field of physiology or medicine (as stipulated in Alfred Nobel's will); (2) examines some other runners-up, and (3) reconstructs why Roux as well as some of his peers were not awarded the Nobel Prize. On a more general level, we argue that an analysis of Nobel Prize nominations contributes to a broader history of excellence in science and medicine in the twentieth century.
Nils Hansson
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Upcoming talks on Nobel Prize history
December 12, 2017: "Die Inszenierung von Exzellenz: Nobelpreisnominierungen als medizinhistorische Quelle". Kolloquim am Institut für Ethik, Geschichte und Theorie der Medizin, Universität Münster (Nils Hansson)
January 31, 2018: "Genies ohne Nobelpreis. Leben und Werk erfolgloser Preiskandidaten in der Medizin". Wissenschaftshistorisches Kolloquium, Universität Marburg (Nils Hansson)
March 24, 2018: "Von Zwickau nach Stockholm? Heinrich Braun als Nobelpreiskandidat". Heinrich-Braun-Krankenhaus Zwickau (Nils Hansson)
 
Nils Hansson
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Conclusion: We argue that studies of Nobel nominations give new opportunities to study not only the selection process for Nobel laureates, but also to explore which pioneers were seen as the most outstanding at a particular point in time and why. What is known? • Recent historical research suggests that Nobel Prize nominations can help to reconstruct trends in medicine over time. What is new? • This paper takes a new approach on the history of pediatrics and shows why the internationally famous pediatricians Abraham Jacobi, New York, and Otto Heubner, Berlin, were runners-up for the Nobel Prize hundred years ago.
Nils Hansson
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Kürzlich konnten Untersuchungen den Weg zu den Nobelpreisverleihungen an die Urologen Werner Forssmann (1904–1979) 1956 und Charles Huggins (1901–1997) 1966 rekonstruieren. Die Laureaten bilden allerdings nur einen Teil der Gesamtzahl von Kandidaten. Bereits zu Beginn des Jahrhunderts gab es in der Urologie Nominierungen u. a. für James Israel (1848–1926), Berlin, Félix Guyon (1831–1920), Paris, Peter Freyer (1852–1921), London oder Edwin Beer (1876–1938), New York. Diese Nominierungen spiegeln den hohen Stellenwert und die vollzogene Fachspezialisierung der Urologie bereits im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Nils Hansson
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Talks next three months by the Nobel research group aka "How (not) to be awarded a Nobel Prize"
September 2, 2017: "An unrecognized Genius? Themistocles Gluck (1853‐1942), 'Politics of Excellence' and the Nobel Prize". European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, Bucharest (Nils Hansson, Thorsten Halling)
September 21, 2017: "Nobelpreis für Physiologie oder Medizin: Welche Nobelpreise haben die Urologie beeinflusst?" Pflegekongress Deutsche Gesellschaft für Urologie, Dresden (Friedrich Moll, Nils Hansson)
September 22, 2017: "Urologische Nobelpreiskandidaten: Wie sahen die Gutachten aus?" Kongress Deutsche Gesellschaft für Urologie, Dresden (Nils Hansson)
October 11, 2017: "Enacting Excellency: Nobel Prize nominations for surgeons 1901-1960." Karolinska Institute (Nils Hansson)
October 12, 2017: Axel-Hirsch-Prize 2017 ceremony. Karolinska Institute (Nils Hansson)
 
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Der Berliner Operateur und Urologe James Israel wurde 1902 für den Nobelpreis für Physiologie oder Medizin nominiert. Der Beitrag untersucht die Voraussetzungen, unter denen der aus einer wohlhabenden jüdischen Kaufmannsfamilie stammende Israel im von antisemitischen Tendenzen geprägten Kaiserreich besonders auf dem Gebiet der Nierenchirurgie zu Reputation gelangte und damit die Fachdifferenzierung vorantrieb.
Nils Hansson
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Some upcoming talks
April 26, 2017 "Medicinska fakultetens kontakter med Tyskland under 1900-talet med fokus på Nobelpriset". Lund University (NH)
May 3, 2017 "Pioniere der Anästhesiologie als Nobelpreiskandidaten 1901-1930". Deutscher Anästhesiecongress in Nürnberg (NH)
May 11, 2017 Nobel Prize workshop. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. (NH)
May 17, 2017 "Deutsche Nobelpreiskandidaten in der Gynäkologie 1901-1920". Gesellschaft für Geburtshilfe und Gynäkologie in Berlin. (NH)
September 2017 "Nobelpreisträger und Kandidaten in der Urologie". Pflegekongress Dresden. (FM)
 
Nils Hansson
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Drawing on files in the Nobel Prize archive for Physiology or Medicine in Solna, Sweden, this paper illuminates the Nobel Prize nominations for and by Karl Sudhoff from 1918 to 1923. He was nominated by Max Cloetta and Max Neuburger, and Sudhoff himself put forward Julius Hirschberg, Erwin Payr and Georg Sticker. Even though none of the proposals led to a prize, the nomination letters offer insights in the relationships between leading historians of medicine in the immediate post-war years. The study is part of a project exploring the construction and enactment of scientific excellence.
PurposeThe Heidelberg surgeon Vincenz Czerny (1842–1916) is remembered as pioneer of innovative operations as well as entrepreneur of interdisciplinary cancer therapy. The purpose of this paper is to describe his role during the early history of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Method Based on documents from the Nobel Archive, this paper investigates how Czerny contributed, both as nominee and nominator, in shaping the early years of Nobel Prize history. ResultsVincenz Czerny was nominated at least three times for the Nobel Prize, but he was never selected. Czerny’s own nomination letters pinpoint important trends in medicine around the turn of the century. At least seven of the candidates he put forward, became Nobel Laureates. Conclusion Czerny—like many other internationally renowned surgeons during the first decades of the twentieth century—missed out on the Nobel Prize, partly because it is not a lifetime award and his work would have to have been more recent. However, with his nominations, Czerny helped to shape the Nobel Prize to become the most important scientific award worldwide.
Objectives: This study is part of a larger project investigating the enactment of excellence in medicine, with a focus on the Nobel Prize. It takes a closer look at two promising candidates for the Prize in the 1920s and 1930s, Gustav Killian and Themistocles Gluck, and aims at reconstructing their Nobel careers as well as taking Gunnar Holmgren's role as a nominator and evaluator behind the curtains into account. Method: Besides the files collected at the Nobel Archive, the paper is based on a review of scientific publications and ergo-biographical sketches. Results: An analysis of Nobel Prize nominations and evaluations offer a unique perspective to study aspects of the history of otolaryngology. Conclusion: Using original files in the archive of the Nobel committee for physiology or medicine in Sweden, this historical vignette explores judgments of scientific innovation and performance in the history of otolaryngology during the first half of the 20th century. This study shows that Gunnar Holmgren, the founder of Acta Oto-Laryngologica in 1918, repeatedly put forward scholars within the field as prime contenders for the award.
Nils Hansson
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The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious benchmark of scientific excellence in our time. It is used for ranking universities and gauging the scientific reputation of whole nations. This makes it the ideal example for investigating the mechanisms of scientific recognition. In this project, we look at the Nobel Prize as a case study of how excellence is enacted, how, in other words, particular achievements in medicine were selected and acknowledged as the most excellent in the field. The work will offer new perspectives on scientific reward mechanisms and the role of credit and priority in science and medicine. (PI: Nils Hansson)