From the importance of women as peacemakers, to the accelerating expansion of the universe, to the role of cause and effect in macroeconomics, the research that won Nobel Prizes this year covered a broad variety of topics.
And yet, according to Doug Doren, it was "surprisingly easy to find University of Delaware faculty members who are intimately familiar" with the prize-winning research and willing to explain it to an audience at UD's annual Nobel Symposium. That's the case because of both the importance of the work that earns Nobel Prizes and also the breadth of the University's faculty, says Doren, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and organizer of the event.
The two-part symposium began Oct. 21 with speakers discussing the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, chemistry and literature, and it concluded Oct. 28 with discussions of the prizes awarded for peace, economics and physics.
Nobel Peace Prize
The selection of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen as winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize was a "testament to peace-building in sisterhood [by] this trifecta of strong and resilient women," said Kara Ellerby, assistant professor of political science and international relations.
The women were honored "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work," according to the Nobel citation.
Ellerby, who has a joint appointment in Women's Studies, told the symposium audience that women often are instrumental and successful in peace-building efforts but are frequently overlooked when the history of such movements is told. In conflicts such as recent civil wars in Africa, for example, women generally have been portrayed as victims rather than as active participants in rescuing their families and others and working to end the violence, Ellerby said.
By building networks that promote both peace and women's rights, she said, such phenomena as the "Arab Spring" popular uprisings become social as well as political movements.