It's that time of year again. Shiny medals are being handed out in Stockholm, along with a large monetary prize and all eyes are focused on who is winning. The Nobel prizes have been awarded since 1901. While they are given in 5 categories (Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, Literature and Peace) originally the ones given for scientific achievement did not gain much attention. That changed when Madam Curie and her husband, along with Henri Becquerel. Suddenly there were real people behind the prestigious awards and the public wanted to hear about them. Madam Curie was the first woman to win and is the only person to have won in two different categories, Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911. Albert Einstein received one, as did Pavlov and the attention they were given was global.
In some sciences, the research work takes so long to become relevant and useful in real life that it appears as if some scientists are getting snubbed. Such was the case with Dr. Peter Higgs. He first began working on the existence of the Higgs Boson, but his work couldn't be confirmed until 2012. He was awarded the prize for Physics in 2013, almost 50 years after he first began his work. The rules, set down by scientist Alfred Nobel in 1895, stipulate that only three people can share the prize, so many projects are ignored because the work involved a larger team.