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2012 Nobel and Ig-Nobel Prizes

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by GarrAarghHrumph, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    The Nobel Prize winners will begin to be announced beginning in the first weeks of October. In anticipation, the awards for the Ig-Nobel Prizes were given out last night. For those who don't know, the Ig-Nobels are somewhat comedic, somewhat serious awards given out for science which is done seriously, and may have serious merit, but which comes across as a bit... silly.

    To grab a quote from the Ig-Nobel website:

    You can find a list of the 2012 winners here, as well as descriptions of what they won for:


    My favorite this year is probably the U.S. Government General Accountability Office. Sadly, they're the only awardee who did not show up. They won the literature prize for "issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports."

    Although the peace prize is actually very cool: "The SKN Company [RUSSIA], for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds." In his acceptance speech, Igor Petrov said, "Ladies, if you want diamonds, come see me after the show — but bring your own explosives."
  2. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Thanks for the link! These are always hilarious. Especially because Nobel Prize winners show up to hand out the hardware :lol:
  3. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    And most of the winners actually show up and are happy to have a chance to call attention to their science.
  4. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    Thanks for posting this. I always enjoy reading about the Ig-Nobel winners. Your favourite is my favourite. I actually looked at the document and it actually is as described. I have to wonder what was going through the head of the woman who wrote it.
  5. That would be funnier if it hadn't killed so many trees.

    Reminds me of the West Wing episode though ...
  6. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

  7. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    The prize for medicine was announced today. It was given for reprogramming adult cells - the discovery that adult cells can be transformed back into stem cells that act like those in embryos.

    John Gurdon, 79, of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, UK, and Shinya Yamanaka, 50, of Kyoto University in Japan, discovered ways to create tissue out of adult cells that would act like embryonic cells, without the need to harvest embryos. This lead to cloning, and has gone on to lead to the potential to treat diseases using stem cells that are harvested from an adult.

    This allows, for example, tissue from an adult to be harvested from, say, the skin, grown into brain cells in a lab, and have treatments tested on it in ways that don't jeopardize the health of the patient. They hope it will help with treatments for diseases such as Parkinsons. They also hope it will eventually lead to replacement organs that can be transplanted into the person the cells were taken from, without the risk of rejection that an organ from a separate donor carries.

    As an amusing aside, in an interview, Gurdon mentioned that he still keeps a report from his school on his wall. It says, of his younger self, "I believe he has ideas about becoming a scientist... This is quite ridiculous. It would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who have to teach him. He will not listen, but will insist on doing his work in his own way."

    Yeah, I guess that worked out for him. :lol:

    Yamanaka's research wasn't published that long ago - 2006. As I recall, it's not overly common for research that recent to win the Nobel, but his has been big-time influential. Basically, he re-wrote the book.

  8. CantALoop

    CantALoop Well-Known Member

    Yamanaka's research is well deserved - it really advanced progress toward personalized and regenerative medicine.


    The Chemistry Prize went to people who worked on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are a major superfamily of proteins that have a multitude of functions in the cell.

    That being said, all my chemistry friends are butthurt that the Chemistry Prize went to molecular biologists again :p:lynch::D
  9. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash


    Know the feeling. Having graduated experimental Physics, I was outraged when they gave it to astronomers last year. What is the practical result of astronomy research these days.
    That said I'm glad they didn't give it to the Higgs boson team this year. The only lives it'll change (I mean, not change, since they actually found the damn particle that makes the counts right) is of mathmaticians and theoretical physicists.
  10. mkats

    mkats Well-Known Member

    Woohoo for Duke chemistry! :cheer:

    I loved these two clips from the WP article:

  11. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

    I interviewed with Dr. Lefkowitz a few years ago when I was interviewing at Duke.... very friendly person! :)

    Regarding iPS cells (Yamanaka's research): iPS cells are a "hot" field right now, and lots of people are working on it. I do feel the Nobel's a bit premature, though, considering that clinical applications are still extremely preliminary.
  12. CantALoop

    CantALoop Well-Known Member

    Now that I think of it, physicists have more reason to complain because they got snaked by the chemists in 2010 (graphene), so you have more scientific disciplines encroaching on your territory :lol:

    You're not alone, I know many other cell biologists who think that the iPS Nobel is premature given how medical application of stem cells is still in its infancy and nowhere near being a standard clinical procedure. However, I think it really shifted the paradigm of the field because of its potential use and the practical advantage of using adult cells rather than plucking an embryonic cell and then keeping it preserved until needed.

    But that being said, it's nice they coupled it with a classic Xenopus experiment with the theme of cellular reprogramming rather than just iPS.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  13. susan6

    susan6 Well-Known Member

    I'm a little butthurt. I was rooting for Brus or Graetzel. You know.....chemists. :mad:
  14. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Looks like our cousins down south are doing very well with the Nobel committee again this year. :lol: congratulations to all the winners. :cheer2:
  15. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

  16. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

    I loved watching that press conference with Gurdon about how his teacher said he shouldn't try to do anything with science!! That is soooo funny. Talk about the ultimate way to prove someone wrong! :D
  17. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    The physics prize this year went to Serge Haroche, 68, of the Collège de France and the École Normale Supérieure, in Paris, and David J. Wineland, also 68, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado, for their work observing quantum particles.


    It's believed this work will lead to things such as more accurate atomic clocks (already has done some of that), better GPS systems, and quantum computers.
  18. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    Physics is everything :p

    I was particularly happy with the award in 2007 (discovery of giant magnetoresistance) as the 1st name on the paper (Baibich) was actually one of my teachers. Of course he wouldn't win anything as he was a mere post-dco in need of a publication. He noticed the effect on the measurements and Fert and Grünberg did the work. Sitll, very exciting :D
  19. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

    GREAT decision re Literature. Mo Yan is an outstanding writer.
  20. Domshabfan

    Domshabfan A proud P/C fan

    Wow, i can't believe this statement...
  21. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    ^ It's like video game mentality and fanboyism, isn't it?
  22. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    You realize that this was tongue and cheek

    Or are you a mathmatician? :p
  23. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

  24. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

    Which of his books do you like best? Where's the best place to start?
  25. Domshabfan

    Domshabfan A proud P/C fan

    Astrophysicist :)
  26. AragornElessar

    AragornElessar Well-Known Member

    W/the majority of my FSU time the last week being in the Baseball thread, and knowing the announcements were being made, I figured the best place to catch up would be in here. :)

    As a Kidney Transplant Recipient, this is awesome news!! Anything that brings us closer to the day where the Antirejection regime doesn't have be taken ever again by any Transplant Recipient is a good thing IMO.

    :lol: :lol: Yup, that Teacher sure was right... :lol: :lol:

    The way I look at it though, is that whenever anyone who doesn't know the difference hears "Stem Cell Research" they instantly think of Embryonic Stem Cells and that in turn usually leads down the road to a rather nasty discussion of where those Stem Cells have come from. For the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel in Medicine for this, gives this research a badly needed publicity shot in the arm, also hopefully allowing more Stem Cell Research to get the funding it badly needs, so we can get more breakthroughs such as this.
  27. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

    Red Sorghum would be the best place to start, it's the most "conventional" of his novels :) I can't vouch for the quality of the translation though as I read it in Chinese.
  28. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Really surprised not to see the Higgs Bosom team get the Nobel.

    I don't know what to think of the European Union getting the Peace prize. It has definitely enabled the kind of stability and cooperation that would otherwise be unthinkable but meh...

    Gotta get one of his novels, they sound amazing.
  29. Domshabfan

    Domshabfan A proud P/C fan

    I don't know what to say about European union wining the peace prize, it is the biggest self congratulation ever.
  30. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I like the idea behind the peace prize, but there have been way too many times where the selection has been :confused:.

    Who gets the prize money, BTW?