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Nobel Prizes that will probably never get awarded

Over at The Best Schools, James Barham tells us about “50 People Who Deserve a Nobel Prize” (September 30, 2012):

Someone we might not know:

Alain Aspect (b. 1947)

Aspect was born in Agen, a town in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France. He graduated from lesser-rank French universities and was working as a humble lecturer in 1982 when he led a team that performed experiments confirming the correctness of Bell’s Theorem, stating that either the realism condition or the locality condition on elementary particles must fail. Aspect’s experimental apparatus was of the two-channel type, in which a light source is split into two beams, which are then passed through polarisers with randomized settings. When the polarities of the two beams were subsequently measured, they were found to be statistically correlated. This finding has been interpreted to mean that the locality condition is indeed violated (quantum non-locality is real).

Someone we do:

James A. Shapiro (b. 1943)

Shapiro was born in Chicago. He was educated at Harvard College and Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in genetics in 1968. Before graduating, he studied for a year under François Jacob at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, and afterwards held positions at Harvard Medical School, the University of Havana, and Brandeis University, before settling in 1973 at the University of Chicago, where he is now a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His primary field of research has been bacterial genetics. In 1969, Shapiro was a member of Jon Beckwith’s team at Harvard which isolated lacZ in E. coli—the first individual gene to be isolated in any organism. In 1979, Shapiro proposed a model of replicative transposition—retrotransposon copying of a DNA sequence via an intermediate theta shape (“Shapiro intermediate”)—to explain the phenomenon of gene mobility. Beginning in the 1980s, he did pioneering work on the cooperative behavior within colonies of social bacteria. More recently, he has focused on rethinking the entire evolutionary process in the light of non-random, adaptive “natural genetic engineering” in both bacteria and higher organisms. This path-breaking work is summarized in his book, Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press, 2012).

Shapiro won’t get the prize because, as the BioLogos people say, all truth is Darwin’s truth. Or something like that.

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