Professor Robert Aumann, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2005, returns to Goldstein on Gelt to share more of his insights on pairwise matching, what this means, and how to apply its logic to making everyday decisions.
Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Prize’
When Professor Andre Geim, Langworthy Professor and director of the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology at the University of Manchester, UK, and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, first appeared on the Goldstein on Gelt show last year, he spoke about graphene, a very versatile material that he developed and for which he won the Nobel Prize. But what has happened since then? Find out why there appears to be a gap between academia and industry by listening to this week’s episode of the Goldstein on Gelt show.
The subject that brought this years Nobel Prize for Economics to winners Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley is pairwise matching. But what is pairwise matching, and how can it be applied to everyday life choices? Doug Goldstein interviews Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Aumann, winner of the prize in 2005, who explains what pairwise matching is and how it can be applied to life decisions, such as who to marry and which medical school to attend.
Romney may say the right things, but will he really be able to affect change? And Obama says… and does… the wrong things, and he has no reason to change. Democrats complain that Romney has no sympathy for the unemployment problem.
Of course this is ironic since he has been hunting for a new job for the past year. In the recent debate, he stressed how he would work to improve the economy to help the middle class. He wants to cut out deductions, lower taxes, and simplify the tax code. Great idea, but that’s not how Washington politics work. With so many special interests, will he really be able to make the required changes? It doesn’t look good.
On the other hand, Obama wants to spend his way out of the problem. He gets the money from borrowing the same way overspending American citizens fund their personal largess. Instead of paying back debt that he racked up, Obama pays the minimum monthly balance. It’s like if you pay $50 on your $5,000 credit card debt. Based on the logic of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, the President feels he can double the amount of debt since he’d only have to make $100 monthly payments (or, in the case of the United States debt, make that an increase from $30 billion per month in interest payments to $60 billion!). This system of borrowing money will probably continue to work until at least the election date, and maybe for a few more years. But at some point, that debt must be paid off.
On this week’s Goldstein on Gelt radio show, I asked former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Harvard professor Ken Rogoff about the American Debt Crisis. He gave a great explanation.
Here’s part one of the show (below). Part two will be posted next week.
Robert J. Lefkowitz, a Jewish physician and path-breaking biochemist from New York, has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Brian K. Kobilka, a researcher at California’s Stanford University.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 went to the scientists for “groundbreaking discoveries that reveal the inner workings of an important family … of receptors: G-protein–coupled receptors,” an Oct. 10 posting on the website of the Nobel Prize stated. Understanding how these receptors function helped further explain how cells could sense their environment, according to the text.
Lefkowitz – who works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina — and Kobilka worked together to isolate and analyze a gene which led them to discover that “the receptor was similar to one in the eye that captures light. They realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike and function in the same manner,” the Nobel Prize website said.
Lefkowitz, 61, and Kobilka, 57, will share a $1.2 million grant from the Nobel Prize Committee.
On Oct. 9. The Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm announced that Serge Haroche, a French-Jewish physicist, had won the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with David Wineland from the United States. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 went to Dan Shechtman of Israel’s Technion.
In 2008, Lefkowitz received the US National Medal of Science. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported at the time that he was one of three American-Jewish recipients that year of the nation’s highest honor in science and technology.
In an interview with Emily Harris which appeared this summer on the website of Duke University, Lefkowitz is quoted as saying: “I was clearly destined to be a physician, I dreamed about it from the third grade on. Wouldn’t trade that part of my experience in for anything. I LOVED medical school.” He also said: “I do regret that my dad died thinking I would be a practicing cardiologist, never dreaming what the future held for me.”
Lefkowitz’s father, who died at the age of 63, “never got to see any of this play out,” Lefkowitz said.
Professor Dan Shechtman of Haifa’s Technion University received the Nobel Prize in Chamistry at an awards ceremony and gala ball in Stockholm on Saturday evening. Sweden’s King Karl Gustav XVI awarded the honor.
Shechtman, who is Israel’s 10th Nobel Prize winner, was given the distinction because of his discovery of quasicrystals, non-repeating yet symmetric structures.
Dr. Sven Ledin of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm , who addressed Shechtman as he received the award, told him that his “discovery of quasicrystals has created a new branch of science.” “This is in itself of great importance, Ledin said. “ It has also given us a reminder of how little we know and perhaps given us some humility. That is a truly great achievement.”
Shechtman discovered quasicrystals in 1982, while on sabbatical in the United States. Because of their ability to be packed together in previously unknown ways, the discovery of quasicrystals has led to the development of exceptionally strong metals used in medicine and engineering, as well as protective coatings and metal alloys. Quasicrystals do not rust and have almost no surface friction.
In his acceptance speech, Shechtman said that while he is “the vanguard of the science of quasicrystals,” the field would not be so advanced without the many scientists he said are “enthusiastic” and “dedicated” to its development. He advised that “a humble scientist is a good scientist.”
“Science is the ultimate tool to reveal the laws of nature and the one word written on its banner is ‘Truth,” Shechtman said. “The laws of nature are neither good nor bad. It is the way in which we apply them to our world that makes the difference.”
Shechtman received congratulations from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose spokesman conveyed his well-wishes and pride in Shechtman’s accomplishment. During his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu reasserted his happiness with the achievement, telling advisors that such discoveries and prizes will come with continued national investment in higher education.
Shechtman, born in Tel Aviv, is married to Dr. Tzipora Shechtman, Head of the Department of Counseling and Human Devlopment at the University of Haifa. Together they have four children, one of whom is a physicist, and three of whom are psychologists. Shechtman will receive €1 million as part of his award.
In my previous three columns (1-7, 1-21 & 2-04-2011) I wrote about my experience with thyroid cancer – a disease that I actually had twice, almost nine years apart. I was very lucky that this is a very curable carcinoma, and even more fortunate that I never felt any real discomfort or pain from the two surgeries and radioactive iodine treatments I underwent. Even when I was very hypothyroid – a prerequisite for the radioactive iodine to have the maximum affect on any cancer cells that were not removed by the surgery – I still felt fine. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism are sluggishness, depression, loss of appetite, weight gain (that’s me on a good day), fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches, dry skin, brittle nails and hair and memory loss. (If an elderly family member is getting forgetful or seems to be thinking more slowly, please have his/her thyroid checked to determine if hypothyroidism is a possible cause, before assuming it is Alzheimer’s or dementia. Hyperthyroidism means that not enough thyroid hormone is being produced, a condition that often is quickly remedied by medication).
If indeed I had any of these symptoms, they were not severe enough to get my attention.
While physically I had a relatively easy time of it, emotionally, I was on a dizzying merry-go-round. I was terrified – especially while waiting to hear test results; elated when the news was good; numb – not wanting to think of what lay ahead; angry; grateful that I felt well; optimistic; pessimistic; proud that I was given this test; ashamed that I was given this test – sometimes all at the same time.
However, there was one very strong emotion that I didn’t at all anticipate, one that would sink its barbed teeth into my psyche: Guilt. Guilt because I didn’t “suffer” enough – that not only did I survive, but I did so with out paying “my dues.”
I know these feelings are not unique – there is even a medical term for this emotional reaction, called “survivor’s guilt.” Often, a person can’t help feel some measure of guilt for having gotten through a life-threatening trauma when others did not.
When I was dealing with my first bout of thyroid cancer almost 18 years ago, two of my friends were being ravaged by other, more vicious and debilitating malignancies. Their ability to function, to live, was slowly and insidiously being whittled away and destroyed. Both were ultimately niftar at relatively young ages.
I would often wonder why I was spared. We all had children who were dependant on us; we all had “unfinished businesss.” From where I stood, I certainly wasn’t better than them, nor more deserving to live. Why did they suffer and lose the battle they had fought with such mesirat nefesh and bitachon, while my fight was, in comparison, a non-event?
You definitely feel great pride, and of course, joy when you are given a clean bill of health after facing a potentially lethal event – whether you survive an illness, a car accident, a fire or an act of violence that others succumbed to. You walk around feeling like you’re special, even superior. You’re a survivor! I too from time to time had “gloat” moments. Yet, I also felt very confused as to why I was chosen to live, when others weren’t.
I know this question has haunted many survivors of the Holocaust – and because of my own experience, I gained much insight into the mindset of this community which my parents, a”h were also a part of. I came to understand that there is a driving need for survivors of any calamity to justify their survival, to validate their continued existence, and ultimately, assuage the unforgiving guilt that gnaws on their souls. They are driven to excel, to make a difference, to do something amazing – or to produce children who will.
Collectively, there was relentless pressure on children of Holocaust survivor parents to be the best academically and/or socially. Excellence wasn’t good enough. You had to get the highest mark in your math test; you had to be the most popular kid in your class. For many of the children who understandably fell short of these often-unrealistic goals, praise was sparse and compliments were few.
But because I too am a survivor, I now understand what fueled this hunger for super achievement. Holocaust survivors were wracked with guilt for being able to walk in the fresh air; to eat and drink and partake in whatever pleasures life has to offer. Many of their family members were murdered in their youth; they never reached the milestones that were their birthright – growing up; getting married; having children; growing old. I remember my mother, who was very beautiful and very sharp (everyone who met her walked away with this opinion) lamenting to me that her brother and sisters were so much better looking and smarter than her, and were more deserving than she of surviving. They perished in their twenties. She was her family’s only survivor.
She, and I imagine the typical survivor, subconsciously could not forgive themselves for living while their siblings, children, nieces, nephews, parents, etc. were prematurely and unnaturally dead. For them, the only way to mitigate the grinding guilt was to either achieve greatness on their own or raise amazing children. Thus they could rationalize and excuse the fact that they lived when the others didn’t. They could silently shout out to themselves, “I survived so I could give birth to my son, the brilliant, life-saving neurosurgeon.” This was their ticket to a guilt-free existence.
I’m not so hard on myself. I don’t need to win, for example, the Nobel Prize in Literature, to make sense of why I am still here, why I was given a “mild” cancer as opposed to a “vicious” one. My job, my purpose, my task is to be b’simcha. Like laughter, I hear it’s contagious!
“It’s part of our history,” author Ron Arons told The Jewish Press. “Just to say we have hundreds of Nobel Prize winners ignores the fact that we have problems too.”
Last Thursday, Arons spoke to several dozens of mostly senior citizens at the Lower East Side’s Educational Alliance about his book, published last year, The Jews of Sing Sing (Barricade Books).
Sing Sing, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York, saw over 6,000 Jews pass through its doors between 1880 and 1950. Grand larceny, burglary, and robbery accounted for 70 percent of the Jewish prisoners’ crimes, but Sing Sing’s Jews also committed such offenses as homicide, arson, and counterfeiting. Forty-one Jewish criminals died in Sing Sing’s electric chair.
Arons stumbled on the world of Jewish criminality accidentally when, in the course of researching family history, he discovered his great-grandfather had served four years in Sing Sing for bigamy. “I could not believe my eyes,” Arons writes about seeing his great-grandfather’s 1897 prison admission record.
Arons said he is still “somewhat shocked” by the discovery but said he feels no shame by his forbear’s transgressions. “It has no reflection on me as far as I’m concerned. You can’t pick your parents, much less your great-grandparents. I had nothing to do with it.”
Nor does Arons worry much about the image of Jews his book projects. “Every immigrant group has a criminal element to it, so to say we didn’t have it is just ignorant To be elitist and claim we only did good things brings on anti-Semitism. To say we’re more like other people I think actually reduces anti-Semitism.”
The crowd at Arons’s lecture seemed to agree with his sentiments. One local woman, Grace Cohen, told The Jewish Press, “As a volunteer for the Fortune Society I work with young people who’ve come out of prison. They’re primarily Hispanics and African Americans, and you start to think, ‘Well, it’s only the African Americans and the Hispanics who are in prison.’ But it’s not true. Look at what we’ve learned today.”
Another local woman who preferred to remain anonymous concurred. “It’s nice to know that we’re not angels, that we’re just like other people.” She acknowledged she “personally could have lived without [the information],” but at the end of the day, “it’s a fact of life. You cannot hide it.”