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The Death of Harold Pinter

Playwright Harold Pinter, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, died in London at 78 on this date in 2008. Pinter was evacuated from that city during World War II and experienced numerous instances of British antisemitism in the course of his childhood, but he was always reluctant to identify passionately as a Jew […]

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George Wald, Scientist and Activist

Nobelist George Wald, who discovered that Vitamin A was a component of the retina and crucial to good eyesight, was born in New York to Jewish immigrant parents on this date in 1906. The first member of his family to attend college, Wald was doing a postgrad fellowship in Switzerland and Germany when Hitler came […]

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Micro-Organisms and the Nobel Prize

Salvador Lurie, a Nobel Prize-winning Italian microbiologist who was shunned by Mussolini and forced to flee to the U.S. by Hitler, was born in Turin on this date in 1912. Lurie and his co-winners of the 1969 Nobel, Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, studied the genetic structures of viruses and bacteria. The 1943 Luria-Delbrück experiment showed that genetic mutations occur […]

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The Quantum Field Theoretician

Theoretical physicist Julian Schwinger, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Richard Feynman and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for their work reconciling quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity, was born to Polish Jewish émigrés in New York on this date in 1918. Schwinger received his Ph.D. (at age 21) at Columbia University, under the tutelage of Isidor […]

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Herbert Simon and Artificial Intelligence

Political scientist and artificial intelligence innovator Herbert Alexander Simon, winner of the Turing Award in 1975 and the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978, was born in Milwaukee on this date in 1915 to a Jewish father and a mother of mixed Jewish and Christian background. Simon spent most of his academic and research career […]

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A Refugee Nobelist

Jack Steinberger, whose investigations of subatomic particles led to a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 (shared with co-researchers Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz), was born in Bad Kissingen, Germany on this date in 1921. His father was a cattle-dealer and cantor, his mother a hop-dealer and language teacher. Steinberger was sent out of Nazi […]

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Nu, Did He Deserve the Nobel Prize?

by Sparrow DOES THE WORLD need another essay about Dylan winning the Nobel Prize? Certainly not. In fact, most people have already forgotten about it. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of Dylan fans will read this piece -– if they find it –- because they’ll read anything about Dylan. I know because I’m […]

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February 9: Reverse Transcription in Genetics

Howard Martin Temin, who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the reverse transcriptase — the enzyme that makes possible an interchange of information between RNA and DNA — died at 59 on this date in 1994. Temin was born in Philadelphia to progressive Jewish parents; for his bar mitsve, the family donated […]

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King Bob Approximately

by Mikhail Horowitz IN THE DAYS following the bestowal of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the 147th phase of Bob Dylan’s career really began to take off. Two weeks after the Swedish proclamation, Michelin Guide announced that it was awarding the singer-songwriter three stars. True, by tradition, the stars are awarded to restaurants, as […]

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October 14: Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize

Romanian-born writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this date in 1986 as “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world,” according to the Nobel Committee. “Wiesel is a messenger to [hu]mankind; his message is […]

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