25 August 2009

Noble Nobels

During WWII, two German Nobel Prize laureates (in physics) escaped to Denmark. When it too was taken over, their medals were chemically dissolved by Danish physicist Neils Bohr and Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy to keep them safe from the Nazis (and to keep the physicists safe as well, as taking gold out of Nazi Germany was a crime). The solution must have just looked like any other bottle of chemicals, because after the war was over, Hevesy precipitated the gold out of the solution, sent it back to the Swedish institution that grants the Nobels, and they generously recast the medals and reawarded them to the two physicists.


Derek MB said...

Love that bit of history. I consider myself an expert in all things historical but this is a story I was not familiar with. Really makes the scientists, like Niels Bohr, seems a whole lot more human and likable.

Levinson-Axelrod said...

Great information and history. Thanks for sharing this fact.

Ariana C. said...

I agree with what Derek said. This is because, regardless of their personal accomplishment's, scientists are scarcely embraced by the general public;to see other positive qualities in them makes them significantly more likeable.

Mirella said...

I loved the story.

I was looking for some info about this to add to my exposition about the Nobel 2010 Mario Vargas LLosa

Thanks for sharing

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Anonymous said...

They were really smart, that's one of the reasons why they earned the price.

Thanks for this.

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