Last week, the Nobel Committee handed out the Nobel prize for Physics. As a Physics major in college, I always look for this announcement with great interest. Unfortunately, most reporters don’t have science degrees and so the science awards get short shrift. This year the Physics prize was won by three scientists: Charles Kao, Willard Boyle, & George Smith. Dr. Kao invented fiber optics, and Drs. Boyle & Smith invented charge coupled devices (CCD), which are what makes digital cameras work. As I thought about their co-developments, it occurred to me that these terrific scientists working in Britain and the United States should have also won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Why? Because digital pictures and video sent instantaneously around the globe have done more to promote openness, transparency, and democratic revolution than any politician, non-profit, or religious figure. The recent uprisings in Iran were given real impetus because of the picture of Neda Soltan. The Cedar Revolution that kicked Syria out of Lebanon was coordinated through the internet and digital photos. Predator drones that have been so effective in eliminating the top leaders of Al Qaeda would not be possible without CCD’s. The blogosphere wouldn’t be possible without fiber optics. President Obama would not have been possible without CCD’s and fiber optics.
So, please celebrate or ponder the Peace Prize if you want to, but the real heros of peace are the ones who make individual liberty and individual action possible… Congratulations to the Physics winners and the world peace that they have created. Somehow I’m not surprised that these inventions happened in Great Britain and the United States. May the exceptional nature of these two countries continue to guide and lead the world.