As if we needed even more proof, but now there can be no doubt that the Nobel Peace Prize means nothing
. Or at least it doesn't mean what you think it means. It is more rightly called the Nobel Political Prize, because rarely (if ever?) is it bestowed on anyone who has actually helped to confer peace in the world (scan the list of laureates
): rather it is awarded to people who often provide the opposite -- endless rabble-rousing and dissent that never overthrows anything to bring a lasting peace. Even in the case of Mother Theresa (God rest her soul), I am not convinced that her efforts had anything to do with peace. Love and compassion, certainly, but world peace? No. But perhaps what is most perplexing is that the the award is always given for "effort" not for accomplishment.
Therein lies the difference between the Peace Prize and the Physics Prize.
I have met two Nobel laureates in physics, this one
and this one
. Both can boast enormous achievements that advanced human understanding of nature tremendously. Unlike the Peace Prize, the Physics Prize is awarded for achievement, not effort. This is why several years -- often decades -- pass between the initial scientific discovery and the awarding of the prize. When I asked Mather why it took so long to be chosen for the award he explained that, in addition to there being many, many deserving people in line for the prize, the committee needed that long to verify the results of his experiments and see if they amounted to anything.
Why doesn't the Peace Prize committee wait decades to see if Al Gore's efforts acheive any peace? Because it doesn't stand for peace. It stands mostly for leftist political activism. If the Peace Prize really lived up to its name, it would be conferred on military/political leaders and heroes who helped overthrow world threats like Hitler and the USSR -- you know, people who actually achieved peace.