Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Keep the Eyes on the Prize

By Peter Bowditch

The achievements of a number of Nobel Laureates have been misappropriated by purveyors of pseudoscience.

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I’ve had a standing offer since 2000 to provide all the assistance I can to any person claiming to have “the cure for cancer” so that they can receive a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which they would certainly win. I don’t care how they do it. The method is not important, only the results, and effectiveness is quite easy to assess:

  • a life-threatening form of cancer has been diagnosed (by scientific means, not just by looking or asking questions) before treatment started;
  • the patient has not undergone any conventional form of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, combination); and
  • the patient is alive and free of that cancer 5 years after the treatment has finished.

Nominations for the 2019 Prize closed on 31 January, and yet again nobody asked for my help, despite many claims on web sites that suggest that the conditions could easily be met. You could assume that the quacks know that they can’t cure cancer, but maybe it’s just that they are shy or don’t think that a Nobel Prize is important enough to go for.

This got me thinking about Nobel winners who have been adopted by followers of pseudoscience and “alternative” medicine, suggesting that the prizes are important to some, so I looked at some of the winners who have become heroes in the nonscience community.

The obvious one is...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.