Book Review: 'Losing The Nobel Prize' By Brian Keating

'A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor'

Professor Brian Keating has no shortage of accomplishments in the realm of physics; he has been one of the key collaborators in several scientific projects and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on the topic. In his first book, "Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor," he talks about his journey to the study of cosmology, but also how the world’s most prestigious prize may be hampering scientific study instead of encouraging it.

The book is divided into two acts, with the overarching theme focusing on the Nobel Peace Prize. In act one, Keating discusses the history of cosmology, taking us from Copernicus to Galileo to Newton to Einstein before arriving in the modern era. He discusses famous physicists and cosmologists who were passed over for the Nobel Prize after its establishment in 1901.

The second half of the book details Prof. Keating’s journey into the world of physics and cosmology. He gives some background to some of his projects, including the highly publicized POLARBEAR and BICEP-2 studies.

All throughout, Prof. Keating makes the case that while the intentions are good, the Nobel Peace Prize has become a political machine that not only ignores scientific endeavors, but might serve to hamper them.

The author makes his very provocative case in an insightful way. He gives real examples of the issues surrounding the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the governing body which vets the nominees. He not only presents the problems, Prof. Keating also gives practical solutions on reforming the Nobel Peace Prize nomination process.

"Losing the Nobel Prize" is an insightful, educational, and practical guide on the history of cosmology and the problems scientists face when seeking the world’s most prestigious award.


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