Did IPCC contributors each win the Nobel prize?
November 26, 2009 3:37 PM   Subscribe

If someone contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's work on climate change, for which the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, is this person a Nobel laureate? If not, what are they?

I ask because I know a few professors who were IPCC members and/or contributors and they tend to talk about it in their bios. Usually it's "X contributed to the IPCC's work on climate change, for which the IPCC was awarded the Nobel prize". However, just now I came across someone who says "X contributed to the IPCC's work on climate change, for which he [i.e. X] was awarded the Nobel prize".

This latter use seems improper, but I'm not sure. What do you think? When an organization wins a prize, how are the contributors properly credited?
posted by PercussivePaul to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
I have no idea if there are formal protocol rules surrounding this, but it seems common sense to me that the Nobel is 'owned' by the IPCC,and cannot legitimately eb cliamed by any individual. Maybe the IPCC Chair, Rajenda Pachauri, could perhaps lay claim to it, but that would be about it.
posted by wilful at 4:24 PM on November 26, 2009

I have worked with someone who was on the Nobel prize winning IPCC committee who also described it that he was awarded the prize. Perhaps everyone who contributed agreed that was how they'd describe it?
posted by Skaramoosh at 4:53 PM on November 26, 2009

The IPCC was awarded the prize, not the contributors, not the chair, etc. It's way cool even mentioning a Nobel in your vitae, why mar it with such transparent careerism.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's flat-out wrong to say that he was awarded the prize. An organization was awarded the prize. The individual committee members are no more Nobel Laureates, than is the receptionist who answers the committee's phone.
posted by jayder at 5:29 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The collective organization won the prize, not the individuals involved. So, the individuals cannot claim to be Nobel Laureates. To use a simplistic analogy, if you're a cook at a chicken restaurant that wins a prize for Best Chicken Restaurant, you as an individual can't claim to be the Best Chicken Cook (even though your efforts contributed to the winning of the restaurant's award).
posted by amyms at 5:42 PM on November 26, 2009

You might want to check the announcement from the Nobel committee when they awarded the prize. It might have said something like, "We give this award to IPCC and everyone who did the work to make their effort possible." If so, it would be less of a stretch for scientists involved in the effort to say that they won the award.
posted by andoatnp at 7:11 PM on November 26, 2009

You can see who was awarded the prize on the Nobel web site. The Panel (and Al Gore) where awarded the prize. Individual members/researchers were not. We can especially see that this is the case because in 1997, when the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, was awarded the prize, the committee also awarded half of the prize to its leader Jody Williams. So she can rightly claim to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
posted by Jahaza at 7:45 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I figured as much. Thanks. Kind of troubling because I since discovered that googling this guy finds articles in the news media that describe him as a "Nobel laureate" - and the comments section turns into a debate about whether that's true or not, thus needlessly undermining him.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:24 PM on November 26, 2009

I dunno about the IPCC, but I worked on a film that won the VFX Oscar, and as Dude Number 342 Junior Artist, I always put that I provided services for "the Oscar-winning film XYZ."

Having worked for climate guys before all that, though, I'm not at all surprised by your scenario. There's a lot of ego in that crowd.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:54 AM on November 27, 2009

Additioanlly, a Nobel Prize can never be shared by more than 3 people. This is why, for example, Robert Gallo and Douglas Prasher missed out on prizes last year.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:27 AM on November 30, 2009

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