Alice Munro and Peter Higgs: Nobel Laureates and Damned Fine People
In these, the darkest days of December, I give a vigorous nod to two luminaries of our time. I'm a writer of short stories, novels, and essays and have always favored the work of the Canadian writer, Alice Munro, who just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Such a thing. And, judging from the Nobel interview with her (she was too frail to travel to Sweden to accept the prize in person), she is filled to brimming with the finest karma. Modest, smiling, genuinely thrilled at her winning, and still beautiful at eighty-two, she dishes out wisdom by the shovelful without even noticing. He message: She won the prize because she loves to write and did not give up despite early failure and discouragement, nor did raising a family interfere with her determination. She knew she was a writer from the beginning and and she wrote until the end. Her fiction is simple, profound, earthy, and accessible.
Peter Higgs, on the other hand, won the prize for work that is unimaginably complex and inaccessible. He, with help from brilliant colleagues, figured out why the Universe has mass. His theory was proven beyond much doubt by the workings of the large hadron collider, that produced the particle, and will allow further investigations that may launch an entirely new field of physics.
In the end, though, I think both of these brilliant thinkers--geniuses in the real sense of the word--travel in their minds to places the rest of us can't imagine.