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The asymmetry between discoveries and inventions in the Nobel Prize in Physics

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Abstract:

This paper presents an empirical study on the frequency of discoveries and inventions that were awarded with the. More than 70 per cent of all Nobel Prizes were given to discoveries. The majority of inventions were awarded at the beginning of the twentieth century and only three inventions had a direct application for society. The emphasis on discoveries moves the Nobel Prize further away from its original intention to reward the greatest contribution to society in the preceding year. We propose to strengthen the role of inventions for the Nobel Prize, which would encourage inventors to tackle important problems, such as global warming or the gap between the first and the third worlds.

Keywords: Nobel Prize in Physics; discoveries; global warming social application; inventions

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/tear.6.1.73_1

Affiliations: Eindhoven University of Technology.

Publication date: May 28, 2008

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