Nobel (and Ig-Nobel) Prizes

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by GarrAarghHrumph, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    The Nobel Prizes come out this week. The Nobel Prize for medicine was announced today - Monday. It will be followed by physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and economics on Monday Oct. 11.

    Robert Edwards, from the UK, won the medicine prize for his work pioneering In Vitro Fertilization: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/nobel_medicine


    On a related subject, the Ig-Nobel prizes were announced last week. These prizes are a parody of the Nobels, and reward science that is genuine science, but perhaps is unintentionally humorous; or are given in satire (example - see the 2010 economics and chemistry prizes, below.) Usually, scientists who are awarded an Ig Nobel do actually show up to the ceremony and accept their award. Which amuses me to no end.

    Examples from this year's winners (citation - Ig Nobel website):

    * Engineering: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

    * Medicine: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride.

    * Peace: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

    * Economic: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

    * Chemistry: Eric Adams, Scott Socolofsky, Stephen Masutani and British Petroleum, for disproving the old belief that oil and water don't mix.

    * Management: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

    Article on the awards ceremony: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/10/1/prize-research-new-nobel/
     
  2. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    You think whale snot is a better example than the bat fellatio?

    :D Thanks for the afternoon chuckle.
     
  3. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    I didn't want to risk offending anyone with the bat fellatio. ;)
     
  4. Aimless

    Aimless New Member

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    I work with a bunch of physicists and I know that a certain small number of them will be listening very carefully in the next day or so for the phone to ring. I've heard that the call sometimes comes in the middle of the night. Hope it's somebody I know!
     
  5. Rukia

    Rukia Active Member

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    I've heard the same thing about the call coming in the middle of the night from a Nobel laureate. This was many moons ago though.
     
  6. beepbeep

    beepbeep Resident Rude Brazilian

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    Can't remember which year this was from right now, but the study about how the volume of beer froth decays exponencially is my alltime favourite.
     
  7. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    I work in management and this cracks me up.
     
  8. Schmeck

    Schmeck New Member

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    My daughter was missing one of her professors a lot last year - to find out he was on the board for the Nobel process (or however you word it, I'm exhausted right now, waiting for the bedsheets to be done in the dryer so I can sleep!) and had to head over for meetings all the time. Makes me wonder if he would be one of the people making the middle of the night calls?
     
  9. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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  10. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    The physics winners are two Russian-born professors at U Manchester in the UK, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, for their work with one-atom thick carbon known as graphene, said to be the thinnest and strongest material known. It's also nearly transparent. The Nobel committee called their work "groundbreaking", with the potential to play a huge role re: electronics and other fields.

    To quote Geim, via the Christian Science Monitor:

    A Nobel AND an Ig Nobel? Amazing.
     
  11. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

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    I like his win for the Ig Nobel. Levitating frogs would make me smile all day. :)
     
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    But how did the frog feel about it?
     
  13. Schmeck

    Schmeck New Member

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    Depends on whether he was pithed or not.
     
  14. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

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    Made him feel like a god? The other frogs probably think he's a diva now. :p
     
  15. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Bit off topic but, since we are on the topic of Nobel prize winners I wanted to mention that Nobel laureate Georges Charpak of France (b. in the Ukraine) and holocaust survivor passed away two days ago. He also won the prize for physics. RIP
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/science/03charpak.html
     
  16. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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  17. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Heck is a professor emeritus at U Delaware, Negishi is a professor at Purdue U West Lafayette, and Suzuki is a retired professor at Hokkaido U in Japan. They won for developing methods that let chemists join carbon atoms together to build complex molecules, called "palladium-catalyzed cross couplings". Their methods are widely used today to develop pharmaceuticals, including cancer drugs, and computer screens.
     
  18. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

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  19. equatorial

    equatorial New Member

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    Finally. No "who the fcuk is [enter the name of the new Nobel Prize winner here]???!!!" this year. Vargas Llosa deserves it completely.
     
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  20. sweetsparky

    sweetsparky Well-Known Member

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    :cheer2: :encore: I had lost faith in the Academy awarding him, I´m glad I was wrong. A superb writer (I consider him one of the best ever in Spanish.) :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  21. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    So very deserved for Vargas Llosa :cheer2:
     
  22. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

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    I have to admit, I think some of the later winners might very well be part of a backlog that they're now going through because some of the crankier members of Svenska Akademien who always blocked those authors died. :shuffle: SA chairs are elected for life, and a couple of years ago there were more men in their 80ies than women overall etc.
     
  23. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

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    I just love this telephone interview with Andre Geim: Nobel link He articulates everything I love (and hope to continue loving) about research--the humor, the play, the random simple experiments that work 1 out of 100 times, the camaraderie.

     
  24. sweetsparky

    sweetsparky Well-Known Member

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    That sounds very reasonable.

    I had read, coming from some Spanish literature circles, some gossip about how Vargas Llosa had some opposition cause his political evolution (to liberalism) and political activities in the past, or cause he was considered part of the same literary movement that would have been recognized when Gabriel García Márquez received the award.

    I had a hard time believing any of those reasons as serious, but since there were talk about other Spanish language writers that were now being told as possible winners of the prize instead, it seemed to me that he could be left apart, what I certainly found a bit unfair.
     
  25. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations to Mr. Llosa! :respec:
     
  26. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    Another thing I read was that he lobbied for the prize was was "unseemly".

    I love his work and I'm glad he finally won it.
     
  27. equatorial

    equatorial New Member

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    I so dislike Márquez, I don't even know where to start when I want to bitch about him :lol: There was, like, a dozen of Latin American writers who deserved the Nobel Prize more than him: Carpentier, Onetti, Fuentes, Puig, Cortázar, Galeano... You name them. And those are just Spanish-language writers. What about Brazil? Jorge Amado freaking died without receiving a Nobel Prize. Hello? Totally worthless writers like Le Clézio and Gao Xingjian got it, and the genius who wrote "Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos" was snubbed?!
     
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  28. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    Then again, "Cien años de soledad" is my favorite book ever.
     
  29. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    I tried to like Gao Xingjian and didn't see the appeal either. I have head Dona Flor and her two husbands a looooooooong time ago but it was great. Never heard of this year's lit winner. What can you tell me?
     
  30. mrinalini

    mrinalini Active Member

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    I had to read Vargas Llosa's Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter for a lit class and was bitching and moaning about it because I had never heard of him. As it turned out, my complaints were unfounded because the book was marvellous - so colourful and simply bursting with life. Much congrats to him for winning the Nobel.

    I also never got the fuss over Gao Xingjian - I could barely make it through half of Soul Mountain. If they had to award a Nobel to a person of Chinese descent, they'd have done better with Han Suyin.