On the occasion of the 2005 Nobel Prize Ceremony, this edition of Network Europe takes a look at Europe’s scientific past, present and future.
We ask the rhetorical question as to why America, and not Europe, dominates the Noel Prizes in the natural sciences
Report on efforts to improve the standard of higher education and research on the continent, and
Take a look at a mega-project which many in France and around Europe hope represents a renewal for Europe’s fortunes in cutting edge scientific research.
Nobel Museum – Europe’s celebrated Nobel laureates
The Nobel Prizes which were first awarded in 1901 - according the will of Swedish Industrialist Alfred Nobel, are closely linked to the history of modern science, the arts, and political development throughout the 20th century. They award academic excellence and human achievement. Radio Sweden’s Gaby Katz tests the heady air heights of academia at the Nobel Museum in down-town Stockholm.
So, why do European countries fall behind the US in the cutting edge research-league - and just as important what are European countries doing to address the imbalance? The Netherlands is within the top ten of the world’s Nobel prize-winning countries, and yet it has only 15 prizes to its credit over the awards 100 year history. But the Netherlands is doing something to increase its chances of achieving in the future. Laura Durnford of Radio Netherlands spoke first of all to Holland’s only Nobel laureate still be working in his home country.
Are elite universities the answer?
The education system in Germany is also under scrutiny - with some commentators saying the egalitarian system is producing mediocre results. The key to fixing the situation according to some is to establish so-called ”Elite Universities”. Modelled after top American schools like Harvard, Stanford or Yale, the idea is to offer high achieving students access to top-notch professors and state-of-the-art facilities - and hopefully turn out Germany’s future leaders, innovators and Nobel Prize winners. But the plan is a major break with traditional ideas about education in Germany and has hit a wall of criticism. Kyle James reports from Berlin.
European scientific research’s mega project ITER
While there appears to be allot of work ahead if Europe is to regain its crown in scientific research, some signs point to a rejuvenation. Europe was chosen this year to host an ambitious international energy programme known as ITER, or international experimental thermonuclear reactor. The plan is that as supplies of oil, coal and gas will eventually run down, a new process of nuclear fusion will produce an alternative green energy in vast quantities. ITER is not only seen as our energy future - the ten billion euro experimental fusion reactor is also good news for European scientists and advanced research in Europe. RFI’s Nick Champeaux reports from Paris.
Closing music: Yo Yo Ma ”Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”