Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nobel Prize Dispute

A few days ago I wrote about a controversy that arose when I was assigned to profile Williard Boyle and George Smith, but I was rather circumspect about it.

Since then the story has advanced, via IEEE Spectrum (the original magazine I was working for then). Here, here and here are their blog posts about claims from Boyle and Smith's Bell Labs co-workers (and supervisor) that their idea for the CCD were not entirely theirs and others weren't given proper credit.

I still don't see any solid, documented evidence that they were (or they weren't) unfair to others. And at this point the Nobel Prize isn't going to be unrewarded or re-rewarded. It's hard to say what to make of it all.

By the way, here is the article I ended up writing for IEEE Spectrum back then, after we gave up on the controversy: "Seeing Stars With Digital Eyes," IEEE Spectrum, July 2001, p. 62. It's no longer online as far as I know.


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rhhardin said...

My advice for original work is share it with everybody; if you're any good, you'll come up with lots of other stuff even if somebody steals it.

David Appell said...

> My advice for original work is
> share it with everybody;

It wasn't that simple. IEEE is a big organization. There were politics involved. The editors and esp publishers have other considerations. It wasn't my decision in any case.