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Chemistry, Physics, Peace, Medicine, Literature – why not a Nobel Prize for Computer Science, Collaboration, or Community Building?

11 Oct

Each year I keep my ears posted as National Public Radio (NPR) starts announcing the winners of the various Nobel Prizes. It is always interesting to hear and then read more about the recipients for each prize and what they are being recognized for.

This year as the announcements started I started pondering – Chemistry, Physics, Medicine… and wondered what’s missing is Computer Science. Full disclosure: my son is a Computer Science major in college and I thought… Computer Science is really on the cutting edge of many scientific, medical, financial and other practical applications today that are shaping the world. Thinking deeper I pondered if the Nobel Committee was setting up the Nobel Prizes “system” today they would probably have Computer Science in the mix. I wondered to myself, can they create a new Nobel Prize category for Computer Science?

Then I was pleasantly surprised that the Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to three scientists who had pioneered using computer science to do complex chemistry modeling. On one hand this was perhaps the Nobel Committee recognizing the emergence and importance of Computer Science, on the other hand, what happens’ next year when the Chemistry prize goes for a different applied use of Chemistry.

I wonder if the Nobel Committee has the flexibility, vision, and of course empowerment to create a new category a 21st century category or two or three of prizes.

If asked, I of course would suggest Computer Science. If given the option to recommend others perhaps I would go with Collaboration, Community Building and Volunteer Engagement.

What would you suggest?

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