CBS/AP October 1, 2018, 5:39 AM Nobel Prize for Medicine 2018 goes to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo as literature prize on hold over Swedish Academy rape scandal
Last Updated Oct 1, 2018 5:47 AM EDT
STOCKHOLM — The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Japan's Kyoto University for discovering a form of cancer therapy. The 9 million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize was announced Monday by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
The Institute — 50 professors at the Stockholm facility — chose the winners of the prize honoring research into the microscopic mechanisms of life and ways to fend off invaders that cut it short.
Last year's prize went to three Americans for work in identifying genes and proteins that work in the body's biological clock, which affects functions such as sleep patterns, blood pressure and eating habits.
The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be named Friday.
A rape conviction, and no Nobel for literature
No literature prize is being given this year, but the Swedish Academy that awards the prestigious prize is still in the limelight. Jean-Claude Arnault, a French citizen who is a major cultural figure in Sweden, is at the center of a sex abuse and financial crimes scandal that has tarnished the academy and forced it to take a year off in its deliberations.
The 72-year-old was sentenced on Monday, just minutes before the award ceremony for the medicine prize began, to two years in prison for the rape of a woman seven years ago. He denied the charges.
The prosecutor had urged the court to sentence Arnault to three years in prison, but he will serve less.
"The defendant is found guilty of rape committed during the night between the 5th and 6th of October 2011 and has been sentenced to imprisonment for two years. The injured party has been awarded compensation for damages," the Stockholm district court said in its verdict.
Even before Arnault's conviction was announced, the Swedish Academy itself had no guarantee that it will be allowed to keep awarding the literature prize.
Lars Heikensten, the head of the Nobel Foundation, has warned that if the Swedish Academy does not resolve its tarnished image his agency could decide that another group would be a better host. He even suggested there could be no Nobel Literature Prize awarded in 2019 either — which is counter to the academy's current plan to award both the 2018 and the 2019 literature Nobels next year.
He told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that it was the Swedish Academy — not the Nobel Foundation — that was going through a crisis.
"The ball essentially lies on the Swedish Academy's court," he said.