The Nobel Prizes: celebrating science every October
The Nobel Prizes for 2014 were announced earlier this month. For a few days every October the world's attention is briefly focused on science, since three of the six prizes - in physiology (medicine), physics and chemistry - are for achievements in the sciences. To me, the awards are both a reminder of the importance of scientific discovery and technological innovation and an opportunity to celebrate them.
Alfred Nobel was a 19th century Swedish engineer and inventor whose great wealth was based on hundreds of patents. In his will he directed that his fortune be used to establish annual awards that recognized the discoveries or inventions that "conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".
The scientific community is divided over whether the Nobel committees have favoured discovery over invention in the science prizes - or the other way around. These opinion pieces from National Geographic and Nature convey a sense of the arguments on both sides.
To learn about Alfred Nobel and the prizes that bear his name:
To read more about scientific discovery and technological innovation: