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Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor

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What would it have been like to be an eyewitness to the Big Bang? In 2014, astronomers wielding BICEP2, the most powerful cosmology telescope ever made, revealed that they’d glimpsed the spark that ignited the Big Bang. Millions around the world tuned in to the announcement broadcast live from Harvard University, immediately igniting rumors of an imminent Nobel Prize. But had these cosmologists truly read the cosmic prologue or, swept up in Nobel dreams, had they been deceived by a galactic mirage?

In Losing the Nobel Prize, cosmologist and inventor of the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiment Brian Keating tells the inside story of BICEP2’s mesmerizing discovery and the scientific drama that ensued. In an adventure story that spans the globe from Rhode Island to the South Pole, from California to Chile, Keating takes us on a personal journey of revelation and discovery, bringing to vivid life the highly competitive, take-no-prisoners, publish-or-perish world of modern science. Along the way, he provocatively argues that the Nobel Prize, instead of advancing scientific progress, may actually hamper it, encouraging speed and greed while punishing collaboration and bold innovation. In a thoughtful reappraisal of the wishes of Alfred Nobel, Keating offers practical solutions for reforming the prize, providing a vision of a scientific future in which cosmologists may, finally, be able to see all the way back to the very beginning.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published April 24, 2018

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About the author

Brian Keating

1 book71 followers
Brian Keating is a professor of physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He is a public speaker, inventor, and an expert in the study of the universe’s oldest light, the cosmic microwave background (CMB), using it to learn about the origin and evolution of the universe. Keating is a pioneer in the search for the earliest physical evidence of the inflationary epoch] the theorized period of expansion of space in the early universe directly after the Big Bang. Physicists predict that this evidence will reveal itself as a particular pattern in the way CMB light is polarized. This pattern is referred to as a B-mode pattern and the BICEP2 experiment claimed to observe it in 2014. This episode is the subject of Keating's first book, Losing the Nobel Prize.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for Brian Keating.
Author 1 book71 followers
December 19, 2018
Today, I submitted submitted my book for publication by W. W. Norton! I’m beyond thrilled that advance review copy readers have already started giving it high-praise.

Why did I write this book, a work that will most likely have harsh implications for my career?

First, wanted to give the public an insider's glimpse into the inner workings of the world's most prestigious (and opaque) accolade.

Second, while the Nobel Prize began with the noble vision of ‘benefiting all of mankind’, today it distorts the perception of science, turning it into a spectacle with wannabes and aspirants engaged in a bloodsport competition every bit as ferocious as the world’s most ambitious politicians wage.

Third, the book is part of a new platform; a community to give voice to the many scientists left out of the Nobel Prizes conversation. The prizes create a distorted narrative that no longer reflects how science gets done. It is my hope that the Nobel Prize can be reformed to better represent the broad and diverse panorama that is modern science. Please visit us at:


For indeed, the Nobel Prize is the world’s closest held monopoly and it has a legendary power to intoxicate scientists. As Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson said, “Scientists are as avaricious and competitive as Smithian businessmen. The coin they seek is not apples, nuts, and yachts; nor is it the coin itself, or power as that term is ordinarily used. Scholars seek fame from the other scientists whom they respect and whose respect they strive for.”

Fourth, I wanted to take readers on an epic quest from the bottom of the world to the beginning of time. Along the way, I hope my readers will be as fascinated as I am as we ruminate on the otherworldly vistas that modern cosmology reveals!

Lastly, I wrote this book as a letter to a younger version of myself, someone who has grown up in gladiatorial combat with other type a high-achievers who want to earn the world’s ultimate A+.

Why did I call it “Losing the Nobel Prize”? Well, originally I was going to call it “Killing Nobel” But Bill O’Reilly beat me to it.

In all seriousness, there are many “victory lap” books written by historians or laureates and more than a few with titles like “How to Win a Nobel Prize”. But, as with other accolades, like the Oscars or Olympics, there are far fewer winners than competitors. This book aims to give an accounting of a scientist seeking his own “Promised Land”, and while he came up short, he realized that the real Prize was the journey itself.

Profile Image for Kate.
514 reviews
January 20, 2020
This book was all over the place - I still don’t know what he was trying to write - a text for beginners in astronomy? A text of the history of astronomy? An autobiography? A tell-all of why he deserves the Nobel prize? A critique of the Nobel prize’s rules? A means to show off how many clever sub-titles he can come up with? And there’s a bit of religion, philosophy & even poetry thrown in.

There is certainly a lot of astronomical knowledge imparted - my favourite part was probably learning a little bit about some of the forgotten female astronomers.

Many of his gripes about the prize sound like a child learning that life is unfair. P. 221 ‘If the nobel Prize is a true meritocracy..’. Well, it’s not, is it? It’s a set of arbitrary rules made by a guy who died long ago & subjectively applied by a committee today.

It seems that his problems with this prize are also actually just symptoms of bigger, broader problems - why is the Nobel prize so sought after - the money, the prestige, the jobs, the grants the ability to run long term projects on your research interests forever after? Perhaps it is actually the scientific research system that is broken - why are so many good scientists forced to compete for such a small pool of funding? Why is the mode of demonstrating accomplishment ‘publish or perish’? Why are these projects in such fierce competition, when they would probably make much more progress, more efficiently and economically, if they collaborated -at least sometimes. Why isn’t there more funding for science? What models would support greater scientific research & advances? These are more interesting questions, I think. He does just barely touch on a few of these ideas, towards the end, and I particularly like how a collaboration forms between former competitors near the end - but it took the suggestion of their big potential bankroller to do it...

You end up almost feeling sorry for him - not for not winning a Nobel Prize (which he clearly was desperate for), but for being so obsessed with it. He seems baffled by other scientists who don’t appear fazed when they are passed over or missed out. I know it’s a big deal, and some of these scientific fields can be incredibly intense. But despite being someone who looks at the immensity of the universe for a living, he seems to miss the big picture - that prizes, even this big, are the icing, not the cake.
Profile Image for David Brin.
Author 324 books3,110 followers
February 15, 2018
An extraordinary work of intellectual honesty. Astrophysicist Brian Keating explores the fascinating history and mixed effects of the Nobel Prize, especially on the field of physics. For a few years, Keating felt these effects, as people chattered about his own possible candidacy, before the chances and mischances of science changed course. That experience informs "Losing the Nobel." An amazing journey.
Profile Image for Katherine Freese.
1 review2 followers
March 6, 2018
Loved this book! It's a page-turner (not usually what I"d say about science books, but it's true).
It recounts the evolution of the experiment that led to recent claims of discovery of gravitational waves from the earliest moments of the Universe --- claims that later turned out to be (literally) dust. Keating's misgivings about the role of the Nobel Prize as a driver of scientists to rush to discovery make for thought-provoking reading.

The book starts with the major early figures in astronomy and cosmology. The arguments between the proponents of the Steady State and the Hot Big Bang models were resolved after decades of debate by data that proved the Hot Big Bang to be the correct picture of the Universe. The early history makes for interesting reading and includes the revolutionary contributions of Henrietta Leavitt, Margaret Burbidge, Vera Rubin and other women in astronomy. Then the book turns to the modern era of cosmology. Keating himself has played an important role in Cosmic Microwave Background science, learning about the Universe by studying the leftover light from the Big Bang. He talks about his push for the development of the BICEP detector at the South Pole. He describes the politics of the second generation of BICEP2, a collaboration led by other experimentalists. BICEP2's claims of discovery of gravitational waves from the Big Bang gave rise to incredible excitement in the world cosmology community and scientists were awarded prizes for the discovery. However, the data later proved to be contaminated by dust and the claims of discovery were incorrect. Keating talks about the dreams of the Nobel Prize that drove the experimenters and argues that the rush to get results can be damaging to careful and yet bold and innovative scientific inquiry. I agree with when he further argues that the limitations implemented by the Nobel Committee, that the prize should go to at most three winners per year and to living scientists only, are not official rules and are unfair to the many scientists who contribute to large collaborations. His discussion of the pros and cons of the role of the Nobel Prize in modern science make for an interesting backdrop for the story of the BICEP2 experiment. Throughout the book he brings in his own personal journey as a scientist, including amazing tales of trips to the South Pole for CMB science. Importantly, he highlights the random path of inquiry by which science actually gets done. Losing the Nobel Prize is a fast-paced fun book to read!

Profile Image for Peter.
6 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2018
Brian Keating’s Losing the Nobel Prize is a truly enlightening and engrossing read, especially for non-scientists interested in learning more about the history of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology, as well as the allure of what is probably the most famous single prize in history.

Losing the Nobel successfully weaves together a number of themes and plotlines, including the history of ideas about the universe, its origin, and fate; Keating’s and his team’s relentless pursuit of Nobel-worthy work in cosmology; the complex, massively-expensive, and hyper-political nature of modern day research in physics; and a powerful critique of the Nobel Prize for Physics and recommendations as to how it could be reformed so as to both encourage and reward the best possible science in this new historical moment. The latter include calls for more public and private funding, more effective public engagement in science, and the need for more equity for women and historically underrepresented minorities in physics.

Keating’s book will also be a pleasure for non-scientist readers who, like me, are interested in wrapping their minds around the latest theories and discoveries in cosmology and astrophysics but who always eventually get lost in books by the like of Lisa Randall and Brian Greene.
That dust—DUST—is one of the book’s most fascinating characters is indicative of Keating’s deftness in telling the story of life, the universe, and everything. Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Antonio Garcia-Martinez.
4 reviews40 followers
February 17, 2018
Our most august institutions--government, billion-dollar corporations, and even staid academia--are absolutely rife with human politicking, raw ambition, and more back-stabbing than anyone likes to talk about.

In 'Losing the Nobel Prize', Professor Brian Keating describes just some of that jockeying and maneuvering among the smartest people in the world, studying the most abstruse and fundamental knowledge, while chasing humanity's greatest honor. Along the way, Keating provides understandable explanations of the more mind-bending aspects of modern cosmology, and just how we know what the universe is made of, sitting here on the third rock out from an unremarkable star.

From the hushed redoubts of prestigious university offices, to the desolate, freezing wastes of Antarctica where many physics experiments are conducted, 'Losing the Nobel Prize' fills in the untold backstories of those who get to shake the Swedish king's hand with a medal around their necks, and those who didn't quite get there.
Profile Image for Jill Courser.
43 reviews7 followers
June 12, 2019
4.5 stars. 4 stars for the scientific chapters, but 5 stars for his chapters on the problems with the Nobel system interspersed throughout the book. A challenging blend of physics (in layman’s terms), memoir, and cultural criticism. The final two chapters on the ethical issues surrounding modern physics and his coming to terms with the pure joy of scientific inquiry (apart from prestigious awards) are excellent. Keating not only critiques the state of the Nobel Prize in Physics, but offers thoughtful suggestions for how the prize could be restored to the spirit Alfred Nobel originally intended. I try to read at least one book from contemporary science every year. Losing the Nobel Prize was well worth my time.
1 review
February 19, 2018
This book is a must-read for any budding young scientist or science enthusiast. It's a rare insider look at cutting-edge science (in Antarctica, no less!) and an exciting, yet controversial result. In this post-mortem, Dr. Keating deconstructs the Nobel prize as a concept and exposes its arbitrary and inconsistent rules, as well as its biases. He challenges the reader to consider how we regard the prize and how it has the potential to corrupt science.

Dr. Keating's sense of fun and humor are in full display and he possesses the rare ability to make a reader laugh while making them think.
Profile Image for Ramin.
93 reviews12 followers
June 8, 2018
Here's a brief excerpt of the review I published in Undark magazine today. If you're interested, please read the whole thing here: https://undark.org/article/book-revie...

In 2014, a team of astrophysicists excitedly made an announcement that received worldwide media attention. They claimed to have discovered evidence of primordial gravitational waves — confirming the theory of cosmic inflation, which proposed to explain how the universe rapidly expanded just moments after its tumultuous birth. It was a Nobel-worthy discovery — if only the team had been right.

In “Losing the Nobel Prize,” Brian Keating, a cosmologist at the University of California, San Diego — and a key player in the collaboration, known as BICEP2 — offers some painful post-mortems to explain where it went wrong.

Part of it was the rush to beat their competition, he argues, and part of it was the Nobel Prize itself. Keating dissects the Nobel’s shortcomings and offers his own recommendations for reforming the physics prize. He insists it’s not sour grapes; instead, he’s calling for long overdue changes without which the Nobel will continue to distort the public’s view of science...
Profile Image for Roo Phillips.
257 reviews22 followers
January 24, 2020
2.5 stars. A solid missfire. An unfortunate missed opportunity. I wanted this book to be good. It has all the elements required for telling a compelling story about one of the bigger problems with science, but it turned out to be...just weird.

Brian Keating is an experimental cosmologist who built a telescope in the south pole (BICEP), and then went working on another telescope (POLARBEAR) after. During work on the second telescope, the group he left went on developing BICEP 2 without him. When BICEP 2 made a "discovery" worthy of the Nobel Prize in physics, Keating was upset he was so far down the list of contributors. Probably a quarter of this book is him whining about the fact that the other leads on BICEP 2 shared the spotlight and he did not (even though he wasn't really on the project). That is all there is to him "Losing the Nobel Prize" as his title suggests. Codswallop. He was never even a real contender.

The first half of this book your typical "history of the universe" many science books have that don't really have enough content to fill 300 pages. Kind of a waste of time given the thesis.

The second half of the book just covers his personal experimental research projects in detail, and the BICEP 2 project. The latter made a potential discovery: experimental evidence for cosmic inflation, a Nobel Prize worthy discovery. The announcement was made and everyone was thrilled, that is, until better science prevailed (as it eventually does). The Planck satellite was measuring the same thing as BICEP 2, but took fewer shortcuts, had better data, and was content with reaching the finish line second. Unfortunately for BICEP 2, a bit of bad science and poor motivation led to its downfall and potential for any prize. This was a good message from the book, but Keating's focus was more on him whining about not being mentioned in the press like he thought he should, and less on lessons to be learned on taking shortcuts in science in order to be first to a prize.

There was a smattering of Judaism weaved throughout the book. This was another distraction from the thesis, and it just felt like Keating wanted the world to know that he was religious.

There was probably slightly more references to the problems of, and solutions to winning the Nobel Prize as there were religious quotes and analogies. Honestly, if he focused only on the perils of the Nobel Prize, he probably had about one or two chapters worth of content. It is unfortunate because his experience ticked all the boxes for making a compelling case for serious scientific reform, and it mostly fizzled. Still, I'm glad that scientists are speaking more openly these days about root problems, often at great expense.
Profile Image for Jeff.
25 reviews
November 4, 2018
Talk about sour grapes! Keating demonstrates there is little difference between scientists belting it out with each other to get the Nobel Prize and the headliners on Premier Boxing’s Saturday Night card. Boy, do things get bloody in the cosmology world.

I don’t understand cosmology and this book didn’t improve that. I had a lot respect for the Nobel Prize before I read this book. I still do. Some people get it; some don’t. But 300 pages of cosmology as a soap opera trying to sweetheart the Nobel Prize? Whew - I don’t have the time.
Profile Image for Leonard.
16 reviews
May 26, 2018
This is simply a book you have to read. Unlike many other science books, this particular book is so much more than knowledge being communicated, it is an experience shared. Dr. Keating makes cosmology comprehensible and enjoyable. Even better than this is the fact that Dr. Keating makes the entire book conversant. Simply put, you can hear Dr. Keating in the pages. I highly recommend Losing the Nobel Prize to any reader, as it transcends genre.
February 15, 2018
Astrophysicist and experimental cosmologist Brian Keating provides a rare behind the scenes view into the ultra competitive world of high stakes science, where both rivals and friends vie for the field's highest and most recognizable honor. Keating makes a compelling case that the lure of the Nobel Prize often results not in simply "the betterment of mankind", as Alfred Nobel himself originally wished, but instead often distorts the science and leaves many otherwise deserving scientists behind as the all too human motives and desires draw the participants more toward personal glory than the real prize of scientific discovery itself. The author makes his case through the lens of his own very personal journey into science, culminating in his team's search for telltale clues in the polarized light from the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, ancient messages from the very beginning of the universe that might finally reveal what put the bang into the Big Bang. In Keating's telling, the supposed smoking gun of what likely could have been a prize-worthy discovery was ultimately confounded by astronomer's ultimate cosmic nemesis, space dust --- leaving Keating and his collaborators short of achieving the desired prize and wondering what went wrong. Keating's story reveals how he made his peace with this outcome, in part, by taking a step back to critically examine the underpinnings of Nobel Prize itself, albeit in a constructive way that will still likely offend many of his colleagues. Keating does not claim that previous Nobel winners were necessarily unworthy, but makes an argument that, to better serve the spirit of its best intended "noble" purposes, the prize is in need of serious overhaul. His recommendations include the awarding of posthumous prizes, increased recognition of women and underrepresented scientists, and a new way to award the prize to more than the current limit of 3 people, especially since some of the most promising modern scientific discoveries are only possible through the efforts of huge international collaborations of thousands of scientists, not just singles, pairs, or triplets of rare geniuses. Overall, this is a lucid, provocative, occasionally hilarious, and thoughtfully honest account of the human side behind what the modern scientific journey is all about from one of its leading practitioners, and I highly recommend it. - Dr. Andrew Friedman, UC San Diego Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences
Profile Image for K. Zandt.
Author 3 books42 followers
January 27, 2019
Keating opens the Kimono here, and it's a riveting story. Set against the big picture questions of humanity like how the universe was formed is Keating's own spectacular personal journey as a determined scientist and also as the son of a scientist searching for his own origin story. The book starts out with Keating at the south pole setting up the telescope he's designed, only to learn that his dad has been diagnosed with cancer, and he needs to get home right away. I don't think I had realized before reading this book how so much of what we know as a civilization depends on our own mortality, standing on the shoulders of our mentors, and the imperative of legitimacy in perpetuating the legacy of science. I learned volumes about cosmology, how the telescopes work, what the science is attempting to discover and also falsify. The story of the scientific process is laid out here in a way I've never seen it before- from Keating's overview of how much is at stake, both for the individual scientists but also for whole teams of scientists who labor to find answers, often in obscurity. Scientists need funding and recognition, it turns out in the 21st century, in order to make those important discoveries that change the world. But the way the Nobel Prize is set up now may be doing more to discourage scientists and great minds than it does to spur them on. The Prize won't recognize any scientists posthumously, nor will it recognize entire teams of scientists, and only 3 women physicists have ever won in the history of the prize ever. And these things shape the science itself because funding follows the prize money. Keating sets the record straight in the text about what is needed to truly benefit science and scientists moving forward. He also courageously lays out his own humiliation in nearly winning the prize, then losing it, only to be chosen to nominate other scientists for the prize. It seems selfless in that he hopes his honest examination will elevate the entire process so that more benefit, including women. For what else does he have to gain by excavating his own loss except that he puts it in service of the betterment of science as a whole? He makes a detailed evaluation of the Nobel Prize process, which is guarded and secretive. Has the Nobel Prize become a false deity of science? Are there ways it can be modernized to recognize that the science of a hundred years ago has truly evolved to become a collaborative process? What I really loved about this book is that by the end you really understand the imperative of cooperation to advance science. And that really, cooperation is also the best way to advance humanity, even across disciplines. Wherever we share and support, everyone wins. Wherever we limit the accessibility of information, obfuscate results or claim sole credit, the greater good isn't served in the long run. Keating is also a humorist, so the journey into cosmic probabilities is one you'll truly enjoy. His summary is hopeful, "The cosmos's prologue is still there to be read, as long as we can get past its dust jacket." I recommend this read if you love cosmology and would like to perch yourself in the box seats of the greatest discoveries of the universe as the curtain rises.
Profile Image for Kee Onn.
191 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2019
Science happens when people are doing it. And even the very best people make mistakes, through ignorance, pride and greed. In this autobiography Brian talks at length of confirmation bias and how it has affected renowned scientists from Galileo to Einstein, and finally on his own project. An insider account follows on the project, from its ideation during his postdoc days at Caltech to the momentous press conference in which he was curiously absent. As he recounted, it turned out to be a moment of weakness, buoyed by the Nobel Prize and the urgency of publication, that led to their premature announcement of what turns out to be a false result. One of the most publicized scientific retraction ensued, and Brian took the chance to reflect and recast his priorities in research and in life.

Unlike most failed experiments, the fact that Brian chose to talk about his experience should not be taken for granted by the community. He and the editors did a great job in the narration - the image of the golden cow of Nobel is seared into the reader's mind. This book is a page-turner from the start, and the epilogue brings the story to a superb conclusion. The section in the book criticizing the Nobel Prize seemed like a case of the fox calling the grapes sour, but nevertheless is food for thought for current and aspiring scientists.
Profile Image for Allegra.
Author 11 books19 followers
February 14, 2018
This is just a terrific book: a combination of science, memoir and polemic about why the Nobel Prize in Physics doesn't best serve the cause of science. Keating was the designer of an experiment that, if it had been proven correct, would have been a shoo-in for the Nobel: but after an announcement of Nobel-worthy results they had to be retracted. Thus, "losing." But there's more to the loss than that - and the experience caused him to reevaluate the Nobel and its mission.
But best of all, for me, was the cosmology. I have never been able to understand cosmological theory, though I am fascinated by it and have read many books, from Brian Greene to Neil deGrasse Tyson. None of them explain the Big Bang and the formation of the universe better than Brian Keating does. Reading this book made me feel smart! Keating is brilliant at explaining difficult concepts. I don't know if "Cosmology for Dummies" exists yet, but Keating is the man to write it, and if it does exist, I cannot believe it's better than what he writes in this book.
Profile Image for Maria Anna van Driel.
1 review1 follower
September 16, 2018
Reading "Losing the Nobel Prize" the world starts to blaze into the background as dr. Brian Keating slowly draws the reader into his life story with a laughter and a tear. Describing the earliest moments in where the universe aroused the curiosity of a 13 year young boy, the emotional moments while his father was fighting cancer, up until discussing the doubts if he and his team truly held the biggest scientific discovery in their hands, let both ones mind and emotions wonder the fabrics of time and space while waking up the inner scientist in each one.

-The Next Truth Magazine
Profile Image for Brian.
618 reviews6 followers
May 11, 2019
I was surprised to learn how much attempts to win the Noble Prize in Physics motivates research in the field of Cosmology. I find that disturbing and more than a little sad, if it is indeed true. I think Keating is a good writer and while I would probably need to re-read this book to get a better grasp of Cosmology, I still learned a lot from reading this book. His chapters on the field of Cosmology were fascinating and much more interesting than the three chapters he wrote on the Noble Prize award process and how he would modify it.
1 review20 followers
February 23, 2018
Part adventure story, part cautionary tale, Brian Keating’s Losing the Nobel Prize is that rare thing among popular science books – a page-turner. It gives the reader an insider’s view of the highly competitive, not to say cut-throat, atmosphere in which modern science is done. Here is a thoughtful, honest look at how the lure of Nobel gold has impacted physicists (Keating included) and physics itself. It will leave you thinking!

Rae Armantrout
February 14, 2019
This is a highly original and engaging book about the work of experimental cosmologists. The author explains very clearly the science and technology involved in the field. In addition, and this is the novelty, he adds his personal reflections about the Nobel prize and its impact in the work of scientists. This is truly a remarkable book and is a must read!
148 reviews11 followers
January 10, 2021
The author is able to make reading about scientist a lot more interesting and palatable than others I've come across in the past. The writing comes across with lots of passion and hope for the future.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 3 books32 followers
February 13, 2018
A page-turning read that opens up the humanity behind contemporary cosmology, the history of looking to the stars, and the flaws of the Nobel Prize. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Sarah Olson Michel.
42 reviews20 followers
January 22, 2019
If you're looking for a fascinating new perspective on the Nobel Prize and its shortcomings, a thrilling narrative of one cosmologist's quest for the gold and pursuit of scientific truth, then look no further. Dr. Brian Keating provides an exciting, in-depth look at "science's highest honor" - but more importantly, how it could be changed for the better. Gender inequity and toxic competition are two of the prize's downsides that Dr. Keating examines. This book is an excellent inside look at the field of physics today.
1 review
April 7, 2019
This is a great book with lots of valuable insight!
43 reviews45 followers
March 27, 2019
This was a wonderful book, a vivid, personable, and accessible description of the scientific process, and a thought-provoking critique of the Nobel. I really appreciate the author's explanations of scientific concepts (one of the reasons I read it was to improve my own writing about astronomy for the public!) and the multiple story threads that are woven together into a portrait of not only the author and his quest for the prize, but also of modern astronomy and the scientific landscape.

Really, I was feeling the emotion by the end of it, which means this is more than just any old nonfiction book of facts. Great book!
1 review
March 24, 2019
Professor Keating's in depth expose of the Noble Prize is a fascinating tale of what it's like to be part of a process that very few get to experience. Mr. Keating weaves a prolific story that keeps you engaged to the very end.

In Losing the Noble Prize, professor Keating drops the pants on Noble and we learn that Noble isn't very noble at all. I invite you to take a one of a kind literally journey by joining professor Keating as he tells you like it the ups and the down, in this all that glitters isn't gold in the land of Noble.
Profile Image for Melissa Miller.
12 reviews
March 26, 2019
A great piece of science writing. Dr. Keating explains his field of experimental cosmology well, and makes a strong case that the academic rat race is hurting science.
Profile Image for Brian Miears.
16 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2019
Like getting a peek backstage at this great show we call science! This book will give you massive respect for those who devote their lives to such rigor. And maybe a more discerning eye for the headlines as well.
4 reviews
April 27, 2019
Not only does the scientific community but anyone with interest in this subject get to embark in this adventure. How the LIGO team discovered Gravitational Waves and at the center of such breakthrough a roller coaster. Hop in!
Brian Keating, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UCSD takes us in a journey of discovery in Losing the Nobel Prize.
In September 2015 Brian Keating creator of BICEP found evidence of BMODES and 2 years later, the LIGO team confirmed the existence of Gravitational Waves 100 years after a major prediction in Einstein’s famous General Theory of Relativity, E=mc2.
Unfortunately even after this massive accomplishment Brian got robbed by the Nobel Academy who invites him to nominate someone for the Nobel thus loosing this monumental award with LIGO winning a year later.
I know. No use to dwell on the past but I stand by him when he says “Dead men win no Nobels” because he is absolutely right, Science IS at stake.
The Nobel committee should rewrite their non conformist policies. Regardless of age, gender and posthumous awards need apply here. They should be awarded.
Although science isn’t about the recognition because the fruits of discovery are in themselves reaping good fruit; if the scientific community isn’t willing to recognize the men and women’s hard work for all the advancements in understanding how the universe works, how are we to inspire the future generations?
It’s imperative we give them their due.
This was such a huge discovery, and so it has been the ones that came before it.

This is not an angry review I promise but It’s a rather grateful one.
That we have all been given access to what went through the mind of these geniuses like Brian behind BICEP although some will contend that it was the lasers instead than the men and women behind these experiments, is but a gift.
Every single Laureate, every single scientist in the world working in the field in outreach after years and years of research confirming those theories; my stars, 100 years. If Einstein were alive today; I wonder what would he have to say after this massive breakthrough.
We can only hope funding is acquired for future research and other projects should be pursued.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for LIGO but Brian deserved this, he and his ream deserved this and so do all the other scientists who have been snubbed so undeservedly.

This isn’t a book you want to miss, and it’s one for the ages too. You want to buy one for your friends if they love science in general, those who have no understanding in the field will understand easily the subject and those that do understand it will love it even more so.
An in-depth view at what goes through the minds of men and women who walk the long and narrow passage to discovery which can be both fortuitous and lonely sometimes; all the way from Antarctica to the farthest reaches of the space where black holes merge in which the universe can help you confirm what you so long for, and humanity can take everything from you because it is what we usually do.
But that never stopped us before and our determination is far greater than anything.
We are explorers, wanderers and we shall continue on to the stars for that in itself is the true reward.
What are you waiting for? You won’t be able to put it down. Also, did I mention the chapter names are bomb?! An homage to pop culture. Bravo Professor. BRAVO! I got a kick every. Single. Time.

Thank you Professor for such a wonderful read and listen. I’ll liaten to this again and again. Loved it!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sudharsan.
46 reviews8 followers
June 17, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up.

Talks about three things. (most times interwined)

1) The authors early life and how he ended up as a cosmologist working on something that had the potential to earn a Nobel.
2) Science lesson on the authors field of specialization.
3) The shortcomings of the current mechanism of giving away the nobel prize.

Parts one and three were mostly straightforward and understandable. Part two, not so much.
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