Nobel and other Prizes

Oct, 25, 2018

PM conferred with Seoul Peace Prize


Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy| Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Seoul Peace Prize

Mains level: Recognition to Indian economic and foreign policy reforms across the world


Awarding the Modi Doctrine

  1. The award recognizes PM Modi’s contribution to the growth of Indian and global economies, crediting ‘Modinomics’ for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor.
  2. The committee lauded PM’s initiatives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetization.
  3. The committee also credited him for his contribution towards regional and global peace through a proactive Foreign Policy with countries around the world under the ‘Modi doctrine’ and the act east policy.

About the Seoul Peace Prize

  1. The prize has been awarded to those who have made their mark through contributions to the harmony of mankind, reconciliation between nations and to world peace.
  2. Established in 1990, the Seoul Peace Prize was an effort to crystallise the Korean people’s yearning for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world.
  3. It was initially established to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Republic of Korea – an event in which 160 nations from across the world took part, creating harmony and friendship and a worldwide atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.
  4. Previous winners of the award include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned international relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.



The term Modinomics is often used to refer landmark economic reforms carried out under PM Modi. Few of them are mentioned below:

  • Introduction and implementation of GST Framework
  • Setting up of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  • Demonetization
  • New hydrocarbon exploration licensing policy
  • Trinity of JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile) etc.
Oct, 06, 2018

[op-ed snap] Augmenting life — on Nobel Prize 2018


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | developments & their applications & effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nobel prizes, Optical tweezers, Optical holography, Attosecond lasers

Mains level: Low strength of women in scientific research and the need for a better atmosphere to bring more women in research domain


Links of Nobel prize to evolution

  1. The Nobel Prize for Chemistry this year is a tribute to the power of evolution
  2. The laureates harnessed evolution and used it in the laboratory with amazing results
  3. Frances H. Arnold, an American who was given one-half of the prize, used ‘directed evolution’ to synthesise variants of naturally occurring enzymes that could be used to manufacture biofuels and pharmaceuticals
  4. The other half went to George P. Smith, also of the U.S., and Sir Gregory P. Winter, from the U.K., who evolved antibodies to combat autoimmune diseases and even metastatic cancer through a process called phage display
  5. The prizes reaffirm the importance of the concept of evolution in our understanding of life as among the most profound of forces we are exposed to

Other prizes

  1. The Physiology and Medicine prize has gone to the American James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, from Japan, for showing how different strategies can inhibit the metaphorical ‘brakes’ acting on the immune system and thereby unleash the system’s power on cancer cells to curb their proliferation
  2. These immunologists have enhanced the power of the body’s immune system to go beyond its natural capacity
  3. Arthur Ashkin, from the U.S., has been awarded one-half of the Physics prize, for enabling us to individually hold, study and manipulate tiny bacteria and viruses using ‘optical tweezers’
  4. Optical tweezers are used to study and manipulate subcellular structures such as DNA and little molecular motors
  5. Optical holography, wherein thousands of such optical tweezers can operate together on, say, blood, to separate damaged blood cells from healthy ones could be a treatment process for malaria
  6. Gérard Mourou, from France, and Donna Strickland, from Canada, who share the other half of the Physics prize, have been honoured for their methods to generate ultra-short pulses of laser light
  7. Among its uses are in Lasik surgery in ophthalmology, and in making surgical stents
  8. Attosecond lasers have even made it possible to observe individual electrons

Use of fundamental forces

  1. The prize-winners have drawn upon the fundamental forces in science and reached out beyond human physical limitations

Need to bring more women in scientific research

  1. Two of the six laureates – Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold – are women
  2. They are only the third and fifth women Nobel laureates in Physics and Chemistry, respectively, since the inception of the Nobel prizes
  3. This statistic gives a reason for the community of scientists to introspect over what makes an enabling environment for women to practise science in
Sep, 14, 2018

[pib] UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) Award


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNIATF

Mains level: India’s efforts for prevention and control of NCDs



  • Shri Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (NHM), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been conferred with the prestigious UNIATF Award for his outstanding contribution towards prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and related SDGs.

India’s efforts for prevention and control of NCDs

  1. It is in recognition of Government of India’s efforts made in the field of prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
  2. National Programme to control NCDs has been scaled up by more than eight times in the past four years and covers all the 36 States/Union Territories now.
  3. The govt. has also initiated population level prevention, control, screening and management initiative in almost 200 districts under NHM which will cover people above 30 years of age.
  4. When fully rolled out, the population-based screening will reach over 500 million adults with health promotion, risk reduction, screening, early detection and management of common NCDs.
  5. Free diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, referral and back referral have been integrated into the program with an IT platform developed through a multi-stakeholder partnership.
  6. The intervention also forms the core of Ayushman Bharat, comprehensive primary health care program.

Addressing multi-sectoral nature of Health issues

  1. The risk factors of NCDs are multi-sectoral and many of the interventions to control these lies outside the health sector.
  2. A National Multi-sectoral Action Plan has been developed which outlines the interventions for different sectors of the Government and other stakeholders.


United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF)

  1. The UNIATF on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases was established by the UN Secretary-General in June 2013 and placed under the leadership of WHO.
  2. It aims to support governments, in particular in low- and middle-income countries, to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.
  3. Following the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, UNIATF’s scope of work was expanded in 2016 to include “NCD related SDGs” – i.e. mental health, violence and injuries, nutrition, and environmental issues that impact on NCDs.
  4. The World Health Organization acts as a Secretariat and lead for the Task Force.
  5. The UNIATF coordinates the activities of relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support Governments to meet high-level commitments to respond to NCD epidemics worldwide.
  6. The Task Force reports once a year to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Mar, 08, 2018

Balkrishna Doshi wins architecture’s top Pritzker Prize, first Indian to do so


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pritzker prize, Balkrishna Doshi, Le Corbusier

Mains level: Achievements of Indians in various domains


Maiden Pritzker prize for India

  1. Nonagenarian architect and reputed urban planner Balkrishna Doshi has been named this year’s winner of architecture’s highest honor — the Pritzker Prize
  2. He has become the first Indian to do so

Doshi’s work domain

  1. He is influenced by masters of 20th-century architecture, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Khan
  2. His ethical and personal approach to architecture has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s
  3. His designs include the IIM-Bangalore; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall


Pritzker prize

  1. The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment
  2. Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation
  3. It is considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture
  4. The prize is said to be awarded “irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology”
  5. Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before November 1 every year
Oct, 14, 2016

The Nobel Literature Prize, 2016

Who? US music legend Bob Dylan, whose poetic lyrics have influenced generations of fans
For what? Having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition
He’s the first songwriter to win the award

Oct, 12, 2016

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2016

  1. Who? British-born Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom of Finland
  2. For what? Their contributions to contract theory, shedding light on how contracts help people deal with conflicting interests
  3. Their theories are valuable to the understanding of real—life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design
  4. For example, contract theory can be used to analyze performance-based pay for CEOs or deductibles and co-pays for insurance
  5. The economics prize is not an original Nobel Prize; it was added to the others in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank
Oct, 08, 2016

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016

  1. Who? Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
  2. For what? His efforts to end his country’s 50-year civil war
  3. Mr Santos negotiated a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla group but the peace deal was rejected by a narrow majority of Colombians when it was put to referendum
  4. Mr. Santos dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize to the victims of his country’s civil war
  5. Last year’s Peace Prize went to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011
Oct, 06, 2016

Nobel prize in Physics, 2016

  1. Who? David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz
  2. For what? Studies of unusual states of matter such as in superconductors
  3. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter
  4. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics
Oct, 06, 2016

Nobel prize in Chemistry, 2016

  1. Who? Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa
  2. For What? Work on molecular machines that may lead to developments like new materials, sensors and energy storage systems
  3. The French, Scottish and Dutch scientists had developed molecules with controllable movements that can perform tasks when energy is added
  4. The molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors
Oct, 05, 2016

[op-ed snap] It’s time to update the Nobel prizes

  1. Theme:A case for expanding the number of fields eligible for the Nobel Prize.
  2. Background: Nobel prizes were the brainchild of Alfred B. Nobel (a Swedish industrialist best known for inventing dynamite) to annually reward persons for contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.
  3. Arguments for including more fields: Discoveries in newer fields like ecology, geology and climate science are increasingly critical for addressing today’s most pressing problems. A similar evolution was recognized with the 1968 establishment of a Nobel-calibre prize in economics.
  4. The Nobels’ narrow focus creates a two-tiered scientific universe: wherein only select fields have access to a uniquely powerful publicity mechanism, prestige, power and wealth that the Nobels bestow.
  5. Much of today’s most exciting and important science resides at the borders of traditional disciplines or in ones that don’t have a dedicated prize.
  6. Arguments against: The Nobel disciplines are still the “purest” sciences, and as such deserve extra recognition.
  7. Previous attempts to include more fields: In 2009, 10 prominent scientists and engineers, including a Nobel laureate, wrote an open letter asking the foundation to recognize more areas of science. The Nobel Foundation responded, in essence, by saying the committees that made the awards “have been reasonably successful up till now in tracing major developments of modern civilization”.
Oct, 04, 2016

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

  1. Awarded to: Yoshinori Ohsumi from Japan
  2. For: Discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying ‘autophagy’
  3. Autophagy: A fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components
  4. Earlier: The 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for discoveries concerning novel therapies against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and malaria to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu
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