Le culte du Nobel

OSLO -- La danse autour de la médaille d’or du Nobel a commencé voici un siècle, et elle n’est pas près de s’interrompre. Icône, mythe et rituel, le prix Nobel a de belles heures devant lui. Mais que savons-nous vraiment du prix Nobel ?

Mystérieux et légendaire, le prix Nobel a commencé à faire l’objet d’études savantes à partir de 1976, quand la fondation Nobel a ouvert ses archives. Les recherches menées alors par de savants historiens laissent peu de place au doute : la médaille du Nobel est gravée des faiblesses humaines.

Bien que de nombreux observateurs admettent un certain degré de subjectivité pour les prix de littérature et de paix, les prix scientifiques ont longtemps été considérés comme une mesure objective d’excellence. Mais, depuis le début, l’Académie royale des sciences de Suède, qui accorde les prix de physique et de chimie, et le Karolinska Institut, qui accorde ceux de médecine/physiologie, fondent leurs décisions sur les recommandations de leurs comités respectifs. Et la compréhension des sciences des membres des comités s’est avérée décisive pour déterminer les résultats.

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