About two weeks ago we reported that the “Fathers of Digital Photography” who invented the CCD sensor had won a Nobel Prize in physics for their revolutionary achievement. Now, two colleagues of Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith are claiming that the Nobel committee erred by doing “extremely poor research”.
Eugene Gordon and Mike Tompsett worked with Boyle and Smith at Bell Laboratories, where the CCD was invented. They claim that Boyle and Smith were taking the concept in the wrong direction, studying its applications in memory rather than imaging. Furthermore, they believe that Tompsett, who formerly led the CCD researcher group, should have been awarded the prize after being the first two build two examples of the device. Tompsett told Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail:
If you take it all literally, the prize should have been given to me, I think if their name is on it, mine should be, too.
Smith rejected the criticism saying that while Tompsett could be credited for engineering prowess, he wasn’t the original source of the idea.
Though smaller committees play an important role in the Nobel Prize selection process, nomination is made by thousands of people and scrutinized by the experts in each field. However, despite the apparent reliability of the extensive, multi-step process, the Nobel Prize has received its fair share of controversy, and this is simply another entry on the list.