29 September 2014

“You don’t have to be clever to make a discovery”

I think the Nobel Prizes may do more harm to science than good. Over on Quora, I’ve seen more than a couple of questions asking about the IQ of Nobel prize winners, often mentioned as though winning a Nobel was some sort of objective yardstick for intelligence.

With the awards only a few weeks away, I was pleased to hear this refreshing, level headed take on the prizes from a winner of the award, Tim Hunt:

Robyn Williams: (T)he other startling thing you said is that you are not clever personally, and I find that amazing. How can you win a Nobel Prize if you’re not clever?

Tim Hunt: Because winning a Nobel Prize isn’t about being clever at all, it's about making… at least in physiology or medicine it’s about making discoveries, and you don’t have to be clever to make a discovery I don’t think, it just comes up and punches you on the nose. Sort of one moment you didn’t know that and the next moment, coo-er! Gosh! So that’s how it works.

Related posts

Will you still love me if I don’t win the Nobel prize?
Are prizes good for science?

External links

Nobel Prize for discoveries, not cleverness says laureate Tim Hunt

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