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EDITORIAL: Reaching Nobel heights


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Reaching Nobel heights

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The season of Nobel Prizes is upon us and major awards have so far been made for some stunning advances in the sciences, and it is only right and proper that earthshaking research which improves the lot of mankind should be rewarded.
We note with pleasure that one award has been made posthumously to a prize winner who was able ironically enough to test his own achievements on himself when he was stricken with pancreatic cancer. It was a judicious exercise of discretion of the committee to confirm this award even though he died before confirmation.
We anticipate that most awards will be made for research which has enjoyed international and critical acclaim, and has been exposed to the analytical scrutiny of the awardee’s peers. At first sight, this may seem to favour those who toil in of the large universities and research laboratories of the metropolitan countries.
Yet, we have been able in this region to produce three Nobel Laureates, two of whom have been awarded for Literature and the other in Economics. We have not had similar results in the sciences, and one wonders why.
There is no lack of talent.
Our people have shown they can match and surpass many scholars wherever they are and many Caribbean citizens who adorn the faculties of some of the most stellar educational institutions the world over. Perhaps the research facilities are not available in our region; or then again, we may not have paid enough attention to research of the right kind, or it may just be a question of money to fund the research project.
Whatever the reason, we are not lacking in intellectual firepower, but what produces a Nobel prize winner in Literature may not produce a prize winner for example in Medicine or Physics. The capital expenditure is greater – much greater – in the latter cases.
Yet, we feel obliged to support the views of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles who reminded us of the importance of high quality research coming out of our universities, and who stressed the need for the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West?Indies to raise its research profile.
Out of this exercise may flow the kind of result which brings international recognition thereby raising the profile of our campuses.
It may also provide the springboard for exposing our academic researchers and their output to a much larger audience.
This region has shown that its citizens can be world beaters, and that the highest levels of achievement are within our grasp, and with the right kind of facilities and exposure, our young scientists can emulate the achievements of Sir Arthur Lewis, Derek Walcott and Sir Vidia Naipaul.

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