Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 10:42 pm | Fair 66º


Bill Cirone: Americans Again Lead Field of Nobel Laureates

We should all take pride in their accomplishments, and applaud the teachers who helped guide them

America has continued its remarkable showing by winning seven of the very prestigious Nobel Prizes. We should all take pride in these achievements, continuing the tradition of U.S. dominance in so many categories.

Congratulations to these great American intellects, who once again led a field of prominent researchers to earn the coveted Nobel Prizes.

Thomas Sargent of New York University and Christopher Sims of Princeton University shared the Nobel Prize in economics, for empirical research on the cause and effect in the macroeconomy. Their research helped answer questions regarding the causal relationship between economic policy and different macroeconomic variables such as GDP, inflation, employment and investments.

Revolutionizing our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principals for its activation, American Bruce Beutler of the Scripps Research Institute joined two other laureates in winning the prize in medicine. Jules Hoffmann headed a research laboratory in Strasbourg, France, and Ralph Steinman, who died just before news of the award was announced, was a professor of immunology at Rockefeller University in New York.

In physics, three Americans shared the prize for research that discovered the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate, driven by dark energy, a complete surprise given that the acceleration was expected to be slowing as a result of the Big Bang that occurred about 14 billion years ago.

Saul Perlmutter of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley won one half of the prize, and the other half was shared by American Brian Schmidt with Australian National University and Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute. Both teams independently discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.

Every fall the Nobel Prize committee in Stockholm, Sweden, announces the newest Nobel winners. These brilliant, accomplished and hardworking individuals should be held up as models for our young people. At the very least, we should all do our part to help spread the facts of their accomplishments and our pride as a nation in having them represent us.

We salute them all for their contributions to modern knowledge. Once again, we applaud all the teachers they’ve had at every level throughout the years, who helped form the building blocks of knowledge that propelled them to this exalted honor.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.

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