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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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Joseph Rotblat

Sir Joseph Rotblat, a physicist who received the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on nuclear disarmament, was born in Poland on this date in 1908. Prior to World War II, the mostly self-taught Rotblat conducted experiments in nuclear fission. When World War II broke out, he was working at Liverpool University under James […]

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October 23: Pasternak’s Nobel Prize

Russian novelist Boris Pasternak, the son of artists, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on this date in 1958 “for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition,” said the Nobel Committee. Pasternak had published Dr. Zhivago, his only prose novel, the year before, […]

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October 21: Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) won the Nobel Prize for Literature on this date in 1976, for writing that mixed, said the Nobel Committee, the “rich picaresque novel and subtle analysis of our culture…  entertaining adventure, drastic and tragic episodes in quick succession interspersed with philosophic conversation… all developed by a commentator with a witty tongue and […]

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October 6: Sadat’s Assassination

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated on this date in 1981, the eighth anniversary of the 1973 war that was known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War. His assassins were members of Islamic Jihad, and their motivation was Sadat’s signing of a peace agreement with Israel in 1978, for which both he and Israeli […]

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April 1: An Algerian Jewish Nobelist

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, who in 1997 became the first physics Nobel laureate from an Arab country, was born in Constantine, Algeria on this date in 1933. (“My family,” he notes, “originally from Tangier, settled in Tunisia and then in Algeria in the 16th century after having fled Spain during the Inquisition. In fact, our name, Cohen-Tannoudji, […]

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March 28: The Quark

Physicist Jerome Isaac Friedman, who shared a 1990 Nobel prize for experimental confirmation of the structure of fundamental particles known as quarks, was born in Chicago to Russian Jewish immigrants on this date in 1930. Friedman was oriented towards the arts until he read a book by Albert Einstein. He then turned down a scholarship […]

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