Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally


There is no doubt that USA laps up the talent from all over the world. US leads the tally of Nobel prize winners which were introduced in 1901 and Economics prize introduced in 1968. Since then 585 Nobel prizes have been awarded to 922 winners out of which only 49 are women.
Youngest and oldest

Youngest person to receive the Nobel is Malala Yousafzai who received it at the age of 17 years in 2014. Although she belongs to Pakistan, her country may hardly be happy over her winning it. Oldest Nobel laureate is Leonid Hurwicz of US who received the Nobel in 2004 for economics at the age of 90 years.
Countries at the top of list.
USA:

357 total

Chemistry: 73

Economics: 55

Literature: 12

Peace: 22

Physics: 94

Medicine: 101
U.K.

115 total

Chemistry: 29

Economics: 10

Literature: 9

Peace: 9

Physics: 26

Medicine: 32
Germany

82 total

Chemistry: 29

Economics: 8

Literature: 1

Peace: 4

Physics: 23

Medicine: 17
France

57 total

Chemistry: 8

Economics: 2

Literature: 15

Peace: 8

Physics: 13

Medicine: 11
Sweden

33 total

Chemistry: 5

Economics: 2

Literature: 9

Peace: 5

Physics: 4

Medicine: 8
Major areas of research leading to Nobel 

In physics is particle physics and in chemistry is biochemistry. Research in genetics most hot topic and in economics it is micro economics.
Nobel winners of Indian origin 
Ronald Ross: Medicine 1902

Rabindranath Tagore: Literature 1913

C.V.Raman: Physics in 1930

Hargobind Khurana: Medicine in 1968

Mother Teresa: Peace in 1979

Subramanyan Chandrasekhar: Physics in 1983

Amartya Sen: Economics in 1998

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: Chemistry in 2009

Kailash Satyarthi: Peace in 2014

The Fabled Jand (prosopis cineraria) Tree

There are many references to “Jand” tree in Punjabi literature. Foremost it is connected to a place called Danabad the village of Mirza in the legend of “Mirza-Sahiban”. After getting Sahiba from her home on the day of her marriage to someone else, and sneaking on his mare-called Bakki in local language, he decides to take rest under the cool shade of Jand tree. He was overconfident that even after taking rest for the summer noon, he will make it easily to his native place before the end of the day. Rest is well known. He was killed by Sahiban’s brothers who came chasing them.

Then there is a famous Gurudwara called “Jand Sahib” in Bathinda Punjab where Guru Gobind Singh is said to have rested under a Jand tree. And and there is one tree located behind Kiran Cinema in Chandigarh which I saw today. This is said to be very old and indeed it looked like that as only skeleton was there. Many people worship it.I always thought about how this tree must look.

I found a very beautiful video describing the beauty of this tree by Mirza. it is in Punjabi language but brief summary of the meaning is “Mirza describes the cool shade of Jand tree, the branches are touching the ground, you shouldn’t say no to sitting under the shade of it. And why to stress the mare in the hot sun because it is not rainy season. You don’t worry, we will reach Danabad (his native village) before the sunset.

Before Chandigarh came into existence, there were villages here. People lived mostly rural life based on agriculture. They worship female goddesses which is attested by many temples in the area. Like Hindu culture they worshipped trees and idols. The Jand tree is one such tree which was worshipped in the area.

image

There are not many trees of this species in this area nowadays. I was curious to know how this tree looked like and other details. I found an article in the English daily “The Tribune” which gives the good information about the tree.

The tree known by scientific name of “prosopis cineraria” is endemic to dry areas and is found mostly in Rajasthan and adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana. It is known by is known as “Jand” in Hindi and Punjabi, “jandi” in Haryanvi, “khejri” in Rajasthani, and “sami or samri” in Gujarati. The tree plays an important role in ecosystem of arid and semi-arid areas. All the parts of the tree are useful, it is called kalp taru or wish fulfilling tree.

During Vedic times, khejri wood was used to kindle the sacred fire for performing yajana. There are references of it in Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Lord Rama worshipped khejri tree known as Sami  Pooja, which represents the goddess of power, before he led his army to kill Ravana. The worshipping of this tree is referred to as samipuja. Pandavas also worshipped this tree and hid their weapons in it during their agyatavasa.

Khejri tree provides shelter and protection to animals and birds in desert areas. This tree is home to many large birds like kites, hawks and vultures.

Many Rajasthani families use the green and unripe pods (known as sangri) in preparation of curries and pickles. The importance of the medicinal value of samitree has been highlighted in our ancient literature. The bark of the tree provides immediate relief to a person bitten by snake or scorpion. Its leaves and fruits are used in preparing medicines for curing nervous disorders. The medicines prepared from its bark are also used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, worm infestations and other skin problems. The bark is also used to cure leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, tumour of muscles and to improve concentration. The gum of the tree is nutritive and good in taste and is used by pregnant woman at the time of delivery.

Nobel Prize Controversies 

Nobel Prizes for this year are on. Already the prize for medicine has already been announced to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura, Youyou Tu on nature based medicines. Prizes in other categories will be announced one by one.

There had been times when Controversies arose over the prizes. Following is the list of some controversial prizes.

  1. Literature prize to Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn in 1970. Solzhenitzyn is well known for highlighting the plight of political prisoners sent to labor camps in Siberia. The communist regime of the then USSR had declared the prize as a provocation and he was not allowed to receive the prize. He received the prize after 4 years after he migrated to USA.

  2. Peace prize to Henry kissinger and Le Duc Tho, in 1973 is considered as the most controversial. Two members resigned from committee in protest

  3. Economics prize to Milton Friedman in 1076 for his work on free markets. His association with Chilean dictator Pinochet irked the protesters.

  4. When Barack Obama received peace prize in 2009. He was less than a year in office. Judges noticed even Obama was not too enthusiastic about it.

  5. Medicine prize to Jules Hoffman, Bruce Beutler, Ralph Steinman in 2011. This prize would have been uncontroversial except for the fact that Steinman had died a few days earlier the prize was announced. Controversial point was that it cannot be given posthumously and commitee made the exception saying they were not aware of his death.

And Nobel Prize for Mahatma Gandhi that never was. There is hardly anyone in the world who doesn’t know his contribution towards non violence. In fact he was the founder of this movement. He was nominated 5 times for the but never won. This again may be due to pressure from the powerful nation. The Nobel committee has since realized the biggest blunder they have committed. His non violence movement has in fact become guiding star for people such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. 

In 1989 when peace prize was given to Dalai lama the chairman of committee paid rich tributes to Gandhi.