Thursday, October 14, 2010

659)2010 Nobels Recognize Potential Of Basic Science To Shape The World; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred.

About the United States of America: "I'm less hypnotized by this country's material wealth than by its wealth of knowledge. This country today represents, without any doubt in my mind, the greatest intensity of human knowledge on the face of the earth. And that is an exhilarating thought, one perhaps not perceived by Americans as much as by non-Americans"(Aga Khan IV, LIFE magazine interview, December 1983)

"The United States' position as a world leader, in my view, grows directly out of its accomplishments as a Knowledge Society - and this Knowledge - rightly applied - can continue to be a resource of enormous global value"(Aga Khan IV, Austin, Texas, USA, 12 April 2008)

"The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims. Exchanges of knowledge between institutions and nations and the widening of man's intellectual horizons are essentially Islamic concepts. The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension. That dimension is indeed itself a field for intellectual enquiry. I can not illustrate this interdependence of spiritual inspiration and learning better than by recounting a dialogue between Ibn Sina, the philosopher, and Abu Said Abu -Khyar, the Sufi mystic. Ibn Sina remarked, "Whatever I know, he sees". To which Abu Said replied," Whatever I see, he knows"."(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Inauguration Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11th 1985)

"Education has been important to my family for a long time. My forefathers founded al-Azhar University in Cairo some 1000 years ago, at the time of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. Discovery of knowledge was seen by those founders as an embodiment of religious faith, and faith as reinforced by knowledge of workings of the Creator's physical world. The form of universities has changed over those 1000 years, but that reciprocity between faith and knowledge remains a source of strength"(Aga Khan IV, 27th May1994, Cambridge, Massachusets, U.S.A.)

"A thousand years ago, my forefathers, the Fatimid imam-caliphs of Egypt, founded al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo. In the Islamic tradition, they viewed the discovery of knowledge as a way to understand, so as to serve better God's creation, to apply knowledge and reason to build society and shape human aspirations"(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 25th June 2004, Matola, Mozambique.)

"An institution dedicated to proceeding beyond known limits must be committed to independent thinking. In a university scholars engage both orthodox and unorthodox ideas, seeking truth and understanding wherever they may be found. That process is often facilitated by an independent governance structure, which serves to ensure that the university adheres to its fundamental mission and is not pressured to compromise its work for short-term advantage. For a Muslim university it is appropriate to see learning and knowledge as a continuing acknowledgement of Allah's magnificence"(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 1993, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan)

"...As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas – and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination – palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread – in every corner of the world – and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments.
And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives – the more our imagination staggers. Just think for example what might lie below the surfaces of celestial bodies all across the far flung reaches of our universe. What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration"(Aga Khan IV, Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)For the full version of this quote see:

"In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God"(Aga Khan IV, July 23rd 2008, Lisbon, Portugal)

The Qur’an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God’s creation"(Closing Address by His Highness Aga Khan IV at the "Musée-Musées" Round Table Louvre Museum, Paris, France, October 17th 2007)

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

" Islam, but particularly Shia Islam, the role of the intellect is part of faith. That intellect is what seperates man from the rest of the physical world in which he lives.....This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives. Of that I am certain"(Aga Khan IV, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, August 17th 2007)

"In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"Our religious leadership must be acutely aware of secular trends, including those generated by this age of science and technology. Equally, our academic or secular elite must be deeply aware of Muslim history, of the scale and depth of leadership exercised by the Islamic empire of the past in all fields"(Aga Khan IV, 6th February 1970, Hyderabad, Pakistan)

"God has given us the miracle of life with all its attributes: the extraordinary manifestations of sunrise and sunset, of sickness and recovery, of birth and death, but surely if He has given us the means with which to remove ourselves from this world so as to go to other parts of the Universe, we can but accept as further manifestations the creation and destructions of stars, the birth and death of atomic particles, the flighting new sound and light waves. I am afraid that the torch of intellectual discovery, the attraction of the unknown, the desire for intellectual self-perfection have left us"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, 1963, Mindanao, Phillipines)

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"Consider, for example, the opening declaration of every Islamic prayer: "Allah-o-Akbar". What does that mean? There can be no doubt that the second word of the declaration likens the character of Allah to a matrix which contains all and gives existence to the infinite, to space, to time, to the Universe, to all active and passive forces imaginable, to life and to the soul. Imam Hassan has explained the Islamic doctrine of God and the Universe by analogy with the sun and its reflection in the pool of a fountain; there is certainly a reflection or image of the sun, but with what poverty and with what little reality; how small and pale is the likeness between this impalpable image and the immense, blazing, white-hot glory of the celestial sphere itself. Allah is the sun; and the Universe, as we know it in all its magnitude, and time, with its power, are nothing more than the reflection of the Absolute in the mirror of the fountain"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

Quote from a letter written by Our 48th Imam to a friend in 1952 under the title: 'What have we forgotten in Islam?':"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayeh of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion(Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952, Karachi, Pakistan).

"Nature is the great daily book of God whose secrets must be found and used for the well-being of humanity"(Aga Khan III, Radio Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan, February 19th 1950)

"My profession is to be forever journeying, to travel about the Universe so that I may know all its conditions."(Ibn Sina, aka Avicenna, 11th century Muslim Philosopher, Physician and Scientist, author of the Canon of Medicine, circa 1037CE)

"One hour of contemplation on the works of the Creator is better than a thousand hours of prayer"(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)

All human beings, by their nature, desire to know."(Aristotle, The Metaphysics, circa 322BC)

2010 Nobels recognize potential of basic science to shape the world

Prizes go to IVF, graphene and ‘carbon chemistry at its best’

By Rachel Ehrenberg, Laura Sanders and Nathan Seppa
October 23rd, 2010; Vol.178 #9

Medical Nobel goes to developer of IVF
Robert Edwards receives prize for work that led to 4 million births Read More

Physics Nobel goes to graphene
Two-dimensional carbon sheets discovered in 2004 Read More

Basic tool for making organic molecules wins chemistry Nobel
Three researchers get prize for methods used to make drugs, electronics, plastics Read More

BLOG:Swedish academy awards
As Nobel season opens, one researcher looks back on a century of steadily increasing U.S. dominance.

A technology that has brought 4 million babies into the world over the past three decades has been recognized with a Nobel Prize, along with two innovations that promise to revolutionize how those children live in the 21st century.

The 2010 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine went to Robert Edwards of the University of Cambridge in England for pioneering in vitro fertilization, a process that overcomes many causes of infertility by creating embryos outside the body and implanting them in a prospective mother’s uterus.

Edwards began research on IVF in the 1950s and later worked with gynecologist Patrick Steptoe. In the late 1960s Edwards was the first to try human egg removal and fertilization in vitro, a Latin term meaning “in glass.”

“By a brilliant combination of basic and applied medical research, Edwards overcame one technical hurdle after another in his persistence to discover a method that would help to alleviate infertility,” the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute stated in announcing the prize.
Ultimately, Edwards’ efforts gave rise to both a medical breakthrough and a now-outdated term — test-tube baby. The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born July 25, 1978.

One winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics, Konstantin Novoselov, was little more than a toddler at the time. Now 36, he and Andre Geim, both of the University of Manchester in England, published their Nobel-winning discovery just six years ago in Science (SN: 10/23/04, p. 259). Since then almost 50,000 research papers have been published on graphene, the material the pair isolated from graphite using ordinary adhesive tape.

Graphene is made of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb pattern, forming a single layer so thin that it’s nearly see-through. For such a humble material, graphene displays some remarkable properties: It conducts electrons with extremely low resistance, can conduct heat 10 times better than copper and exhibits strange quantum effects. Graphene is also flexible and stronger than steel. The substance could form the basis for new kinds of electronics, transparent displays, efficient solar panels or lightweight plastic composite materials for use in aerospace and other applications.

“When you couple it with all of the applications, that’s what whips physicists into a frenzy,” says Joseph Stroscio of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Gaithersburg, Md., campus. “It’s an amazing little material.”

The winners of the chemistry prize developed ways to use another amazing material, the precious metal palladium, as a catalyst to build large molecules out of carbon atoms. The techniques the trio developed are already used in producing thin-screen displays and a host of drugs, including antibiotics, chemotherapy agents and the anti-inflammatory naproxen. More applications are bound to come as chemists continue to refine the technique, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in naming the winners: Richard Heck, who retired in 1989 from the University of Delaware in Newark; Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.; and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

All three figured out ways to make chemical reactions go by using palladium to disconnect and connect particular atoms with speed and efficiency. Known as palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions, different versions of the process already bear the names of each Nobel winner and are familiar to organic chemistry students, as well as those in industry and academia. The research that led to the prizes began back in the 1950s and has become part of the standard toolkit of chemists.

“This is fundamental carbon chemistry at its best,” says Joseph Francisco, a Purdue chemist and president of the American Chemical Society.

This year’s Nobel Prizes are worth 10 million Swedish kronor each, or about $1.5 million. Geim and Novoselov will split their prize evenly, as will Heck, Negishi and Suzuki.

Pioneer of in Vitro Fertilization Wins Nobel Prize

Physics Nobel Honors Work on Ultra-Thin Carbon

3 Share Nobel in Chemistry for Work on Synthesizing Molecules

Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)