The researchers carried out their study in order to try to answer a long-standing question for economists and medical researchers as to whether social status alone can affect people's well being and lifespan. Although the existence of some kind of effect is known from studies of monkey packs, in humans it has been difficult up till now to separate any perceived positive effect of "status" from the effect of simple greater wealth that status often brings. Nobel Prize winners were viewed as an ideal group to study as the winners could be seen as having their status suddenly dropped on them. They also come with a ready made control group they can be directly measured against - scientists who were nominated for a Nobel prize but did not actually win one.
The researchers looked at winners and nominees in physics and chemistry between 1901 and 1950 (the full list of nominees are kept secret for 50 years). This gave them 528 male scientists with known biographical details (birth and death dates). They looked at one sex only to avoid differences in life span between sexes. They dropped four from that total who died prematurely for non biological reasons - such as active combat in the First World War. That left 524 scientists, of whom 135 actually won a Nobel Prize.
The average life span for this group was just over 76 years. Winners of the Nobel Prize were found to live 1.4 years longer on average (77.2 years) than those who had "merely" been nominated for a prize (who lived on average for 75.8 years). When the survey was restricted to only comparing winners and nominees from the same country, the longevity gap widened even more by around another two thirds of a year on average.
Professor Oswald said: "Status seems to work a kind of health-giving magic. Once we do the statistical corrections, walking across that platform in Stockholm apparently adds about 2 years to a scientist's life-span. How status does this, we just don't know."
The researchers also looked at the Nobel Prize fund - the real value of which has changed over time. By comparing the possible effects of that variation, they found that the amount of actual prize money won by Nobel prize winners had no effect on their longevity - suggesting that it is the sheer status boost of the award that is important in extending lifespan.
The researchers also looked to see if the number of nominations for a Nobel Prize had any effect as a number of the scientists in the survey had been nominated for the award several times. They found that the number had no effect- actually winning the Nobel Prize was what counted.
Peter Dunn | alfa
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences