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  1. #1

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    Nobel (and Ig-Nobel) Prizes

    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/20...rch-new-nobel/
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    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.
    You think whale snot is a better example than the bat fellatio?

    Thanks for the afternoon chuckle.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    You think whale snot is a better example than the bat fellatio?
    I didn't want to risk offending anyone with the bat fellatio.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    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!
    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. #6
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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    * 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.
    I work in management and this cracks me up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    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!
    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. #9

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    Another winner this time for physics have been announced.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/sc...ef=global-home
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

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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:

    Geim especially does not mind injecting humour into science. In 1997 he levitated a frog using a magnetic field, winning himself a tongue-in-cheek "IgNobel Award" from the Annals of Improbable Research in 2000.

    "I think I'm the first person who won both. I'm very proud of these prizes," he said.
    A Nobel AND an Ig Nobel? Amazing.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    I like his win for the Ig Nobel. Levitating frogs would make me smile all day.
    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpal2 View Post
    I like his win for the Ig Nobel. Levitating frogs would make me smile all day.
    But how did the frog feel about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    But how did the frog feel about it?
    Depends on whether he was pithed or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    But how did the frog feel about it?
    Made him feel like a god? The other frogs probably think he's a diva now.
    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

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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/sc...03charpak.html
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

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    The chemistry prize is shared with three scientist this year; Richard Heck, Ei-Ichi Negishi,and Akira Suzuki.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/eu...mistry/?hpt=T2
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    The chemistry prize is shared with three scientist this year; Richard Heck, Ei-Ichi Negishi,and Akira Suzuki.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/eu...mistry/?hpt=T2
    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.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  18. #18
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    ...and Mario Vargas Llosa just won the Literature prize.

    http://www.svenskaakademien.se/press_en.html

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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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilynn View Post
    ...and Mario Vargas Llosa just won the Literature prize.

    http://www.svenskaakademien.se/press_en.html
    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 by sweetsparky; 10-07-2010 at 12:38 PM.

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