At the end of the movie, Nash is old, and is informed that he has received the Nobel Prize for Economics. His speech is moving, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
I came away from that movie thinking "if I work my ass off, for 40+ years, and do great works, and garner the respect and admiration of both my peers and my competitors, and live a great life, perhaps near the end of that life I too will get a Nobel...the ultimate expression of society's acknowledgment of a lifetime of great work."
So it seems odd to me out that President Obama is getting a Nobel Peace Prize, considering how young he is in his career/life. And it makes me start to wonder about the criteria through which the Nobel Peace Prize is being picked. This is not a knock on President Obama...I just always thought the Nobel was an award for past achievements...of which Obama has very few that warrant the Peace Prize.
But then again, he's not the first young American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize before he had made major achievements. In 2007 it was given to Albert "Al" Gore. TMQ says it best:
Gore wasn't the first quack to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and history suggests he will not be the last. Gore spent eight years in the White House, and in that time took no meaningful action regarding greenhouse gases. The Clinton-Gore administration did not raise fuel economy standards for cars and trucks or propose domestic carbon trading. Though Clinton and Gore made a great show of praising the Kyoto Protocol, they refused even to submit the treaty to the Senate for consideration, let alone push for ratification. During his 2000 run for the presidency, Gore said little about climate change or binding global-warming reforms. In the White House and during his presidential campaign, Gore advocated no consequential action regarding greenhouse gases; then, there was a political cost attached. Once Gore was out of power and global-warming proposals no longer carried a political cost -- indeed, could be used for self-promotion -- suddenly Gore discovered his intense desire to demand that other leaders do what he had not! It is a triumph of postmodernism that Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for no specific accomplishment other than making a movie of self-praise. Gore caused no peace nor led any reconciliation of belligerent parties nor performed any service to the dispossessed, the achievements the Peace Prize was created to honor. All Gore did was promote himself from Hollywood, and for this, he gets a Nobel. Very postmodern.He goes on:
An astonishing measure of how out-of-touch the Norwegian Nobel Committiee seems is that it gave a prize to Gore for hectoring others about energy consumption in the same year it was revealed that Gore, at his home, uses 20 times the national power average. Gore's extraordinary power waste equates to about 377,000 pounds of greenhouse gasses annually, or about 20 Hummer Years worth of global warming pollution. (A Hummer Year, TMQ's metric of environmental hypocrisy, is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in a typical year of driving a Hummer.) When his utility bill made the news -- though apparently not in Oslo -- Gore responded by saying he buys carbon offsets. That takes you back to the offset problem: All offsets do is prevent greenhouse gas accumulation from increasing. If you really believe there will be a global calamity unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 80 percent, as Gore told the Live Earth crowd, you would buy offsets and cut your own energy use. Instead, Gore flies around in fossil-fuel-intensive jet aircraft telling others: Do as I say, not as I do!
In any case, it almost seems like the Nobel prize committee is no longer awarding past performance but trying to encourage future performance.
Perhaps this "award for future performance" policy should be applied across the board, and the awards given thereby obligate the recipient to achieve the requirements of the award after they receive it. For example I could receive the National Medal of Science from the Presidential committee, and then spend the rest of my career trying to create innovate new science and engineering to justify the award I received in my fledgling twenties.