|The Nobel: Visions of Our Century: Press Release|
THE NOBEL: VISIONS OF OUR CENTURY Looks Back at the Last 100 Years Through Stories of Prize Winners
Documentary Explores the Advances and Dilemmas of Society Through the Eyes and Words of the World’s Most Brilliant Scientists, Writers and Crusaders for Peace
Combination of Emotional Cinema Verité and Candid Interviews
Reveal the Legacy of the Nobel Prize on Its 100th Anniversary
San Francisco, California -- The Nobel Prize has marked the most significant scientific and social events of the 20th century. In reviewing the range of its recipients over the last 100 years, a roadmap emerges that helps to unravel the contradictory history of the last century. Since the prize was first awarded in 1901, the world has witnessed a dramatic intensification of the violence of war alongside momentous advances for the cause of peace. The Nobel Prize embodies this ironic contradiction of humanity's progress where this century's most constructive scientific discoveries have also had the potential to destroy our world. Nobel recipients continue to grapple with the potentially double-edged impact of their work on society. They have been forced to ask themselves, "What is the social responsibility of innovation and discovery?" By examining the legacy of the Nobel Prize, the program embarks upon a serious reflection on the meaning and cost of the advancement of humanity in our time.
Airing nationally on PBS beginning Wednesday, December 12, 2001 (check local listings) -- and in the Bay Area Friday, December 14 at 9 p.m. on KQED Public Television 9 -- The Nobel: Visions of Our Century explores these issues, while celebrating and contemplating the legacy of the Nobel Prizes and the people who have won them. The one-hour film, narrated by South African Literature Laureate Nadine Gordimer, looks deeply at examples of innovation that have shaped the moral, social and technological fabric of 20th century consciousness. Interviews with peace, literature, medicine and science laureates are used to weave together the sometimes -- contradictory notions of peace and science, comment on scientific discovery and responsibility, and examine the different pathways humanity might take in the future. The film also sweeps across time by using archival footage to capture some of these laureates on the verge of discovery.
In total, 11 contemporary Nobel Prize winners are highlighted in the documentary along with 10 laureates who appear through archival footage and interviews. The eleven interviewees are: David Baltimore in 1975 for Medicine; Paul Berg in 1980 for Chemistry; J. Michael Bishop in 1989 for Medicine; Murray Gell-Mann in 1969 for Physics; Nadine Gordimer in 1991 Literature; Douglas Osheroff in 1996 for Physics; Joseph Rotblat in 1995 for Peace; Wole Soyinka in 1986 for Literature; Desmond Tutu in 1984 for Peace; Elie Wiesel in 1986 for Peace; and Jody Williams in 1997 for Peace.
"We set out to make a film that allowed the laureates, across the disciplines, to muse on scientific and social progress during the 20th century and their own contributions to it," said director and producer Bonni Cohen. "The great contradictions of our time started to emerge in their stories. Yet, it was amazing to see the interconnectedness between the disciplines -- how science has influenced art and art influenced politics and so on. There is an inextricable link between these laureates. It turned out that in telling the history of the Nobel prizes in this way, we are also telling a brief history of the last 100 years."
The Nobel: Visions of Our Century includes an interactive Web site hosted at pbs.org/nobel featuring more information on the life of Alfred Nobel, his will and the Nobel Prize, audio and video clips of laureates from around the world, an interactive time-line and a quiz-game. The Web site also provides community engagement ideas and dynamic classroom lesson plans for teachers.
In addition to the national broadcast documentary, there will be a series of events taking place throughout the state of California -- which has the highest number of laureates in the world -- to help mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. Events are being developed in collaboration with the Consulates of Sweden in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Santa Clara University, and the Fund for Peace in Washington D.C. The highlights include high school essay awards through the California Science Center in Los Angeles and three academic symposia to be held in northern and southern California. More detailed information about all the statewide events can be obtained through The California Nobel Prize Centennial at calnobel.org.
The Nobel: Visions of Our Century is a production of KQED San Francisco in association with Actual Films. Bonni Cohen is the producer and director. The co-producer is Camille Servan-Schreiber. Editor is Josh Peterson; photographers are Clifford Bestall, Jon Else and Jon Shenk; production manager is Libet Wolf; archive researcher is Megan Mylan; and assistant editor is Kevin Abrams. Executive producers for KQED are Tamara Gould and Michael Isip.
Funding for The Nobel: Visions of Our Century is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Taube Family Foundation, the Morgan Family Foundation, the David Sen Lin Lee Foundation and the Compton Foundation, Inc.
National community engagement partners for the program include Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Terrific Science Books, Kits, & More, Association of World Citizens, World Federalist Association, American Friends Service Committee, The Hague Appeal for Peace, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Fund for Peace.
KQED operates KQED Public Television 9, the nation's most-watched public television station (in prime-time), and Digital Television 30, Northern California's only public television digital signal; KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM, the most listened-to public radio station in the nation; the KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources; and kqed.org, which harnesses the power of the Internet to bring KQED to communities across the Web.