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From 1901 to 1912, the committee's work reflected an interpretation of the "ideal direction" stated in Nobel's will as "a lofty and sound idealism", which caused Leo Tolstoy, Henrik Ibsen, Émile Zola and Mark Twain to be rejected.
Sweden's historic antipathy towards Russia was cited as the reason neither Tolstoy nor Anton Chekhov took the prize. In 2008, Horace Engdahl, then the permanent secretary of the Academy, declared that "Europe still is the center of the literary world" and that "the US is too isolated, too insular.
Many indisputably major authors have been ignored by the Nobel Committee, often for political or extra-literary reasons.
Conversely, many writers whom subsequent criticism regarded as minor, inconsequential or transitional have won the prize.
One prize, he stated, should be given "to the person who shall have made the most important 'discovery' or 'invention' within the field of physics".
Awards committees have historically rewarded discoveries over inventions: 77% of Nobel Prizes in physics have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions.
Tsien for their work on green fluorescent protein or GFP.that Gábor Somorjai, a foundational pioneer in modern surface science and catalysis, did not share the prize.Somorjai and Ertl had previously shared the Wolf Prize for Chemistry in 1998.In turn, this renewed speculation about a "political element" existing in the Swedish Academy's awarding of the Prize.Although poor health prevented him from giving his controversial Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics", in person, he appeared on video, which was simultaneously transmitted on Britain's Channel Four.