Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize for Words?

President Barack Obama has been chosen to be the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" [1]. The press release of the Norwegian Nobel Committee says, "The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

In the preface of my book just printed (see the previous article at this blog site), I wrote, "For the realization of this [eternal peace all over the world], we should attach importance to the following words, the sources of which you might guess easily." Then I quoted Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan and Obama's Prague speech on nuclear weapons delivered on April 5, 2009.

On hearing the news of the Peace Prize yesterday evening, however, I wondered if the awarding to Obama was too early because there has been no fruit of his words yet. The New York Times reported the news of the Prize under the title "Surprise Nobel for Obama stirs praise and doubts" [2].

Questions about the earliness of awarding Obama was also raised during the Prize announcement. In answer to them, Norwegian Nobel Committee President Thorbjørn Jagland replied that the Committee wanted to demonstrate its support for the approaches Obama is taking towards global problems [3].

Today I got an e-mail message from the not-for-profit global campaigning organization, which requested signing the petition for pressing Obama to turn hope into action [4]. They write, "Only by following through with courageous, transformative action for peace can Obama fulfill his promise – and only then will history judge that this Nobel Peace Prize is truly deserved." I completely agree with them and signed the petition.

  1. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009, (October 9, 2009).
  2. Surprise Nobel for Obama stirs praise and doubts, New York Times (October 10, 2009).
  3. Time for Hope, Speed Read page for Nobel Peace Prize 2009 (October 9, 2009).
  4. Obama for peace: Turn hope into action

Friday, October 09, 2009

My First Book

The above image shows the cover of my first nonacademic book made at my own expense. In a small number of academic books included in my list of publications, I made partial contributions only. Therefore, this can also be said to be "my" first book." It is entitled "Passage through Spacetime: Random Writings of a Physicist" (Jupiter Corporation, Tokyo, 2009), and is written in English. A friend of mine from Dalian Reizen Elementary School, Takashi Oshio, coordinated the publication for me.

The contents are as follows:
Part I. Hello Mr. Feynman!
 1. What Little I Know about Feynman
 2. We See Feynman Everywhere
Part II. Book Reviews
 Religion and Philosophy
 Life Science
Part III. Vicky: A Novella
 Sorekara and Sanshiro
 Write to You instead of Sam
 Just a "Good-bye"
 The New Year Card
 Stupid Idea?
All the writings contained have been on my Web site for many years, and polishing has been made on this occasion.

The book is not for sale but will be distributed to my friends and acquaintances. Internet friends of mine are welcomed to request a copy by writing their postal address to my e-mail address, which is shown on the top bar of this site.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Consideration of Balancing

The winners of Nobel Prize in Physics 2009 are as follows [1]: Charles K. Kao, Standard Telecommunication Laboratories in Harlow, England, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, for "groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication," and Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, both from Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N. J., USA, for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit &#; the CCD sensor."

About ten years ago, I learned that the CCD (charge-coupled device) had become an important tool for astronomical observation and even in my own field of radiation measurement, but knew neither the researchers who contributed to the development of this device nor the fact that it revolutionized personal electronics. Also, I have learned about optical fibers but not about the person who was a pioneer in that field. So it is good that we now learn about those persons owing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize to them.

Last year, three Japanese-born physicists, Yoichiro Nambu of the University of Chicago, Makoto Kobayashi of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba, and Toshihide Maskawa of Kyoto Sangyo University and the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics at Kyoto University shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their theoretical work in particle physics. It is said that their discoveries were much more obscure to the everyday consumer [2]. By contrast, the discoveries of this year's winners were closely related to practical applications to things around us. Here we see the deep consideration of balancing by the Nobel committee for physics.

  1. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009, (October 6, 2009).
  2. J. Matson, Nobel Prize in Physics Goes to Pioneer in Fiber Optics and Inventors of Digital Image Sensor, (October 6, 2009).