Geoscience Nobels?

Another thoughtful posting from GG, reblogged to the Mountain Mystery site. I’ve long wondered about the lack of Earth Science representation. This is a great list of candidates, even if the prize may need to be shared by a dozen at a time!

The Grumpy Geophysicist

As long as we are on the subject, what sorts of things might be worth Nobel Prizes in geoscience?  There are two aspects of the Nobels that differ from most geoscience prizes: they are for a particular discovery, and from what GG understands, the committee considers discoveries only to be Nobel-worthy if others have built upon those discoveries. A challenge any earth science Nobel committee would face is the fairly collaborative nature of the field–picking out a couple of people might be hard.

Certainly lots of the pieces of plate tectonics years ago would have produced some Nobels, but let’s imagine things that are closer to the present.

  • Ambient noise tomography strikes GG as something that might be considered worthy.  At a minimum, it rescued EarthScope from promises made that could not otherwise have been kept.
  • Slow-slip/tremor in subduction zones seems a worthy discovery as the community tries to see…

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About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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2 Responses to Geoscience Nobels?

  1. John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia says:

    If Dmitri Mendeleev could not win one, then what does it matter. Even Thomas Edison was not recognized by this committee. Darwin is our most famous geologist, but he died before the award. Milankovic was one of our most famous geophysicists and should have won one. J

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      You have some interesting points. I can not agree with Edison being considered a Nobel-worthy scientist, though. I see him as more of a industrialist inventor who sometimes took credit for others’ work. He hired and abused Tesla (and many other central European immigrant scientists), so I haven’t much kindness towards him. Darwin? That would have been a noble choice, but you’re right – he died in 1882, the first Nobel was 1901. Thanks for your comments!
      – Ron


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