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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Abstract

COUTINHO, Marilia; FREIRE JR., Olival  and  DIAS, João Carlos Pinto. The noble enigma: Chagas' nominations for the Nobel Prize. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 1999, vol.94, suppl.1, pp. 123-129. ISSN 1678-8060.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02761999000700012.

Carlos Chagas, a Brazilian physician, discovered the American trypanosomiasis in 1909. Like other remarkable discoveries of those days, his work helped to articulate the insect-vector theory and other theoretical guidelines in tropical medicine. Unlike all other discoveries, all the stages of this work were accomplished in a few months and by a single man. Chagas' discovery was widely recognized at home and abroad. He was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize - in 1913 and in 1921-, but never received the award. Evidence suggests that the reasons for this failure are related to the violent opposition that Chagas faced in Brazil. The contentions towards Chagas were related to a rejection of the meritocratic procedures that gave him prominence, as well as to local petty politics.

Keywords : Carlos Chagas; history of Brazilian medicine; history of Brazilian science; Chagas disease; Pirajá da Silva.

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