There's an interesting panel discussion in New Scientist on the need to revamp the Nobel prizes. It makes sense. The categories have become obsolete as science marches into the twenty-first century. The science awards, for example, are confined to work done in chemistry, physics, and medicine. But today there are all sorts of new fields that didn't exist when Alfred Nobel died in 1896, and a lot of cutting-edge work is being done in neuroscience or evolutionary biology or computer science.
It is just about 15 years since Yasir Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize. Everybody understood that the two leaders of the State of Israel who shared the award with him, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, actually deserved it. But Arafat's primary deed in life was to be a terrorist. A tactician of terror and a strategist of terrorism. Thinking about Arafat in the royal palace made me cringe then. When I went to Al Gore's installation two years ago, I could not get out of my head that the rais had stood in the same spot, a usurper and a fraud.