Spring 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 2 Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Celebration of the Nobel Prizes |

From Oxygen: A Play in Two Acts

Synopsis What is discovery? Why is it so important to be first? These are the questions that trouble the people in this play. "Oxygen" alternates between 1777 and 2001—the Centenary of the Nobel Prize—when the Nobel Foundation decides to inaugurate a "Retro-Nobel" Award for those great discoveries that preceded the establishment of the Nobel Prizes one hundred years before. The Foundation thinks this will be easy, that the Nobel Committee can reach back to a period when science was done for science's sake, when discovery was simple, pure, and unalloyed by controversy, priority claims, and hype. … The Chemistry Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides to focus on the discovery of oxygen, since that event launched the modern chemical revolution. But who should be so honored? Lavoisier is a natural choice, for if there ever was a marker for the beginning of modern chemistry, it was Lavoisier's understanding of the true nature of combustion, rusting, and

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Malacology

By Roald Hoffmann

Synopsis What is discovery? Why is it so important to be first? These are the questions that trouble the people in this play. "Oxygen" alternates between 1777 and 2001—the Centenary […]

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