Peace: 1931

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1) Addams, Jane (1860-1935), was an American social worker and humanitarian. She and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in Chicago in 1889. Addams shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize with Nicholas Murray Butler. Visiting Europe in 1883 and in 1888, she became interested in Toynbee Hall, a settlement in London. On her return home, Addams created a more democratic kind of settlement house, sometimes called a "neighborhood center," among the immigrants in Chicago. There she set up many programs, from day nurseries to college courses, designed for people of every nation and ethnic group.

Addams was not content with simple friendliness or with the programs she established. She believed strongly in the need for research into the causes of poverty and crime, in the importance of trained social workers, and in social action to press for reforms. She organized civic groups to bring pressure on legislatures and officials. Among the reforms with which she was closely associated were the first eight-hour law for working women, the first state child-labor law, housing reform, and the first juvenile court.

Addams wrote and lectured on a wide variety of social problems, including child labor, public health, unemployment relief, and social insurance. In 1909, she became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, now the National Conference on Social Welfare. She led in the fight to give women the vote, and was a pacifist, serving as president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom from 1915 to 1929.

The width of her interest is reflected in her books, which include Democracy and Social Ethics (1902), The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909), Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910), Women at The Hague (1915), Newer Ideals of Peace (1915), and Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922).

Addams was born of Quaker parents on Sept. 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois. She graduated from Rockford College, and began medical studies in Philadelphia. However, she was forced to give up her studies because of her health. She died on May 21, 1935.

Contributor: Alan Keith-Lucas, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Social Work, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

2) Butler, Nicholas Murray (1862-1947), served as president of Columbia University from 1902 to 1945 and founded Teachers College, Columbia University. Butler also helped found the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize with Jane Addams.

Butler was born in Elizabeth, N.J. He earned a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a doctor's degree from Columbia before studying in Berlin and Paris. Butler also served as a delegate to 14 Republican national conventions.

Contributor: Glenn Smith, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, Northern Illinois University.

Literature: 1931

Karlfeldt, Erik Axel (1864-1931), a Swedish poet, won the 1931 Nobel Prize for literature. Karlfeldt had previously refused the prize in 1918, claiming his work was not sufficiently known outside Sweden and that other Swedish writers had already received the prize. The 1931 prize was awarded to him shortly after his death.

Karlfeldt wrote nature poetry strongly tied to the peasant culture of his native province of Dalarna in central Sweden. The poetry reflects the traditional language, folklore, and customs of the province. Critics generally attacked Karlfeldt's traditional style and regional subject matter, but his verse was popular with readers. His most important poems were published in six collections from 1895 to 1927. Many of the poems were translated into English in the collection Arcadia Borealis (1938).

Karlfeldt was born in Folkarna, Sweden. From 1912 until his death, he served as secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, which awards the annual Nobel Prize in literature.

Medicine: 1931

Warburg, Otto Heinrich (1883-1970), a German biochemist, received the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1931. Warburg researched the rates of gas consumption of living cells and the process by which this occurred. He identified the importance of cytochromes. A cytochrome is a type of enzyme (a protein that promotes chemical reactions in living cells) and pigment that affects cellular respiration. Warburg also discovered the importance of iron in the respiration of most cells. From this he demonstrated how many of the properties of the respiratory ferment (his name for the respiratory enzyme) are due to the iron it contains.

Warburg's other related work originally centered on the metabolism of various types of ova (eggs). In 1926, he showed that carbon monoxide inhibits the oxygen uptake of yeast. In the same year, he also developed a manometer, an instrument to measure gas pressure. By the early 1930's, Warburg had isolated enzymes involved in dehydrogenation (the removal of hydrogen from compounds).

Warburg was born in Freiburg, Germany. He studied chemistry at Berlin, and medicine at Heidelberg. Warburg worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Biology (later the Max Planck Institute) in Berlin and became its director in 1931.

Chemistry: 1931

1) Bosch, Carl pronounced bosh or bawsh, (1874-1940), was a German chemist and industrialist. He became known for his development of experimental laboratory processes into commercial methods of production. In 1910, Fritz Haber patented a method of making ammonia from hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen. Bosch adapted this process for industrial use. He also helped develop commercially the process for the hydrogenation of coal and oil, discovered by Friedrich Bergius. Bosch and Bergius shared the 1931 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Bosch was born in Cologne, and studied at the University of Leipzig. From 1935 to 1940, Bosch headed I. G. Farbenindustrie, a German dye trust.

2) Bergius, Friedrich pronounced BUR gee oos, (1884-1949), a German chemist, shared the 1931 Nobel prize for chemistry. He operated a private research laboratory in Hannover. His most famous work dealt with high-pressure chemical reactions. Out of these studies came the method for the direct conversion of coal dust to oil, known as the Bergius process. This discovery is important to countries without oil reserves. Bergius was born at Goldschmieden, near Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland).

Physics: 1931

There was no award offered in 1931.

Peace: 1930

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soderblom, Nathan pronounced SUH dur blum, (1866-1931), a Swedish archbishop and professor, was a leader of the ecumenical movement among the churches of the world. He won the 1930 Nobel Peace Prize for his work for war relief and peace during and after World War I (1914-1918). Soderblom was born in Trono, near Uppsala, Sweden. He was educated at Uppsala University. In 1901, he became a professor in Uppsala, and in 1912, in Leipzig, Germany. He became archbishop of the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) in 1914.