December 10, 2005

Nobel prize winners get awards, Pinter stays home

By Patrick Lannin

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - An Australian who drank a broth of
bacteria to prove a theory on stomach ulcers joined nine other
scientists to receive their Nobel prizes on Saturday, with the
literature winner absent for a second year in a row.

British playwright Harold Pinter was advised by doctors not
to travel to Stockholm for the award and sent his publisher.
His absence came after reclusive Austrian author Elfriede
Jelinek, who has a social phobia, refused to attend the 2004

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International
Atomic Energy Agency, received the Nobel prize for peace in
Oslo earlier on Saturday.

The 2005 laureates for medicine, physics, chemistry and
economics were all present in Stockholm to get their prize from
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

The winners included Barry Marshall, who shared the 2005
medicine award with fellow Australian Robin Warren.

Marshall became one of the most memorable Nobel prize
winners for acting as his own human guinea pig to prove his
theory that a bacterium caused stomach ulcers rather than
stress, in the face of a disbelieving medical establishment.

He downed a brew which contained the Helicobacter pylori
bacterium that he and Warren were sure caused stomach ulcers.
The theory was proven when Marshall very soon became ill.

"It was slightly putrid," Marshall told a news conference
this week, reliving the experience. The discovery meant ulcer
sufferers could get cured after a simple course of antibiotics.

The Nobels, regarded as the world's most prestigious
accolades in science and literature, have been awarded since
1901. The 2005 prizes are worth 10 million Swedish crowns each
and bring the winners instant fame.

Robert Aumann, the Israeli professor who shared the 2005
economics prize for game theory with U.S. academic Thomas
Schelling, said the money was not important in itself as none
of the people who won it were really in need of it.

"The money says, 'this is something really important'," he
told a news conference earlier this week. It let the winners go
out and promote their work and that of science, he added.

Economics was not one of the five prizes founded in the
will of Swedish 19th century industrialist Alfred Nobel, the
inventor of dynamite. It was added by the Swedish central bank
in 1969.

U.S. academics have dominated that and the other science
prizes in recent years, with 2005 being no exception.

Two of the three physics laureates, Roy Glauber and John
Hall, are Americans, with the third, Theodor Haensch, being
German. Frenchman Yves Chauvin joined U.S. scientists Robert
Grubbs and Richard Schrock in sharing the chemistry prize.