It's Nobel week so of course we have someone complaining about all of this:
If Dr. Paine, who passed away in June, had been a physicist, chemist or cell biologist, such a fundamental, broadly applicable and hugely influential paradigm would probably have put him in contention for a Nobel Prize. But Paine was an ecologist, so he had no shot at the prestige, power and wealth that the Nobels bestow. The same can be said for the world’s top geologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, climatologists, crop scientists, botanists, entomologists and practitioners of many other fields.
So the story goes at least, Alfred's wife ran away with a mathematician which is why there is no Nobel for Mathematics. And? It's Alfred's money, to be spent as he wished. and it's not that difficult to substitute. The Fields Medal is considered rather grander in fact.
But our correspondent wants those other sciences to be recognised too.The first computerized weather model was produced only in the 1950s, and climate science has grown exponentially since the danger of global warming was first recognized some 60 years ago. Discoveries in those fields are increasingly critical for addressing today’s most pressing problems, from conservation of endangered species to earthquake and hurricane prediction. And yet the Nobel Foundation has taken no meaningful steps to recognize them. Forests and oceans are essential to making the planet hospitable, yet there is no scientific Nobel that a forest or ocean researcher could remotely dream of winning. Nor is there a Nobel for science education or outreach.
There are no Nobels for these things because Alfie didn't want there to be. and it really is his money being spent here. The solution is therefore for you to raise the money for an institute your own prize. And the eminence of the prize will come not from the name you give it but the reputation of those first few hundred you give it to. It is their reflection which later recipients glory in.
But then we get:
In 2009, 10 prominent scientists and engineers, including a Nobel laureate,wrote an open letter asking the foundation to recognize more areas of science. They pointed out that a similar evolution was recognized with the 1968 establishment of a Nobel-caliber prize in economics, defusing the counterargument that the foundation was constrained by Nobel’s will.
Ah, no, that's to misunderstand what happened. The Foundation is still constrained by the will. The Riksbank bunged them $30 million odd (about right for a $ million a year prize in perpetuity plus admin expenses) to set up the Econ Nobel. And if our complainant were to raise a similar sort of sum we've no doubt they would at least listen politely.
Or, as we might put it, if you want a prize for a certain science or sectors of science then spend your own money matey.