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Nobel Prize Week In Review

Wikicommons, https://tinyurl.com/y8mnnnh7
The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman for the first time in 55 years. Donna Strickland, from Canada, is only the third woman winner of the award.

Nobel Week for scientists -- it's like the World Series and Super Bowl Sunday all wrapped into one. In recent years the excitement has been surrounded by controversy: about who does and who doesn't end up on the winner's list.

This year's Nobel laureates have figured out how to use lasers to hold and cut microscopic objects; how to use the process of evolution to create new versions of everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals, and how to harness the immune system to fight cancer.

Just two of the eight new winners are women. That's actually more than usual. And there's not a single person of color on the list.

There have also been the perennial complaints that an important contributor was overlooked.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced changes to the nomination process for next year's prizes in hopes that it will address some of these issues and concerns. But is it enough?

Living Lab Radio talks with Brian Uzzi, the Richard L. Thomas professor of leadership and organizational change at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

His research has looked at how past knowledge and teamwork translate into future advances and how prestigious prizes affect the trajectory of science.

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Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.