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Yom Kippur and the Nobels

On Monday, the Karolinska Institute will announce the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, kicking off a week of science Nobel announcements. And millions of Jews around the world will be in synagogue, observing the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. Orthodox Jews, and even some Conservative Jews, like my family, don?t answer the phone on the holiday, even if they?re home. So that begs a question: What if an observant Jew is among the winners of the Physiology or Medicine pri

Ivan Oransky
On Monday, the Karolinska Institute will announce the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, kicking off a week of science Nobel announcements. And millions of Jews around the world will be in synagogue, observing the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. Orthodox Jews, and even some Conservative Jews, like my family, don?t answer the phone on the holiday, even if they?re home. So that begs a question: What if an observant Jew is among the winners of the Physiology or Medicine prize? It?s not a purely academic question. Between 1901 and 1990, 160 of all 660 Nobels (science and non-science) were won by Jews. I don?t have any stats since then, but a spot-check: 2000 Physiology or Medicine prize winner Eric Kandel is Jewish, and in fact fled the Holocaust, having been raised in Vienna. Elie Wiesel got the 5 a.m. call about his Nobel Peace Prize...

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