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Nobel Prize for Literature

The other three so-called ‘non- science’ stamps are also interesting.

The Literature stamp shows a micro-print of a poem by T.S Eliot. [He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.] If you have eyes as sharp as an eagle’s, you might be able to make out the bigger letters of the title of the poem, “The Ad-dressing of Cats”.
Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

This poem is part of a book of humorous poems about cats written by Eliot entitled, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.

There is a well-known musical based on the different cats in the book. Were you lucky enough to watch a performance of the musical “Cats” when it was performed here in Singapore?

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

9 January, 2008 at 1:23 am

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prizes are among the most highly regarded of international prizes. Many students associate the Nobel Prizes with scientific discoveries. Rightly so, as there are awards for outstanding achievements in Physics, Chemistry and Physiology/ Medicine. In addition to these sciences there are also awards for Literature and Peace.

The prize money for these awards comes from the will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and entrepreneur who made a fortune from his invention of dynamite and other explosives.

Nobel lived from 1833 to 1896 and had specified that awards be made annually to those who “have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”.

What a noble aim!

The first Prizes were awarded on 10 December 1901, the fifth anniversary of Nobel’s death. The sixth award, the Prize for Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, was set up by the Bank of Sweden in 1968.

In 2001, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the first Nobel Prizes, Great Britain issued a special set of stamps. How do we know these stamps are from Great Britain when there is no mention of the country on the stamps?

Well, Great Britain is the country that pioneered the use of postage stamps and from the beginning did not put its name to the stamps. The tradition has continued to the present day.

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

5 January, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

The Nobel Prize

[Ivan (Editor): Thanks for waiting! ReTRIeVIA is back with this first excerpt from Dr. Tan’s 2002 entries]

The Nobel Prizes are the most highly regarded of international awards. The prizes come from a fund set up by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist who invented dynamite and other explosives.

The Year 2001 marked the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel Prize awards which were for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/ Medicine, Literature, and Peace. The sixth award, for Economics, was set up in 1968.

To mark the 100th anniversary, Britain issued a set of 6 stamps, one for each of the disciplines. You can buy this special stamp issue from philatelic agents in Singapore for about $10 a set. The Literature stamp in the set features a poem by T.S. Eliot, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948, entitled “The Addressing of Cats”.

One colleague told me there is some connection between this poem and the musical “Cats”. I can’t recall what the connection is.

Sorry.

Anyway what I wanted to do is to tell you a more juicy puzzle concerning the Nobel Prize: Why is there no Nobel Prize for Mathematics?

One hypothesis goes that Alfred Nobel was in love with the famous lady Russian mathematics professor, Sofya Kowalewskaja, shortly after her arrival in Sweden. However, Ms Lowalewskaja fell in love with another Swedish mathematician at the University of Stockholm by the name of Professor Mittag-Leffler.

Apparently, Prof Mittag-Leffler was an outstanding mathematician and, in Nobel’s opinion, if a Nobel Prize for Mathematics was set up Mittag-Leffler would be a very strong candidate and possibly win the award.

So, to prevent such a possibility, Nobel decided not to have a prize for mathematics!

Interesting hypothesis, isn’t it?

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2002
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

26 November, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Year 2002

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