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2014 Ig-Nobel Prizes (oh, and the Nobel Prizes, too...)

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by GarrAarghHrumph, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    The Nobel Prizes have begun to be awarded this week. So far:

    Medicine: James Rothman (US), Randy Schekman (US) and Thomas Suedhof (Germany, US), for discoveries on how hormones, enzymes and other key substances are transported within cells.

    From the AP:

    Physics: Francois Englert (Belgium) and Peter W. Higgs (UK), for their research into the Higgs boson particle:

    From the AP:

    Amusingly enough (?), one 2012 winner was deemed non-essential by the US government, and furloughed due to the government shutdown (Thanks to Buzz for posting the link to this article originally):

  2. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    On a more comedic note, the Ig-Nobel Prizes were awarded in September. The Ig-Nobels are semi-serious, semi-comedic, and designed to award science that makes you laugh, then makes you think. It's real science... but when seen by outsiders, can seem a bit :confused: or even :eek: What's so cool about them is that many of those who win actually show up, and the awards are given out by Nobel Laureates.

    A sampling of my favorite Ig-Nobel winners for this year. All quoted from the Ig-Nobel website, here: http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2013

    PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Laurent Bègue [FRANCE], Brad Bushman [USA, UK, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND], Oulmann Zerhouni [FRANCE], Baptiste Subra [FRANCE], and Medhi Ourabah [FRANCE], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

    SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE: The late Gustano Pizzo [USA], for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival. US Patent #3811643, Gustano A. Pizzo, "anti hijacking system for aircraft", May 21, 1972.

    PHYSICS PRIZE: Alberto Minetti [ITALY, UK, DENMARK, SWITZERLAND], Yuri Ivanenko [ITALY, RUSSIA, FRANCE], Germana Cappellini [ITALY], Nadia Dominici [ITALY, SWITZERLAND], and Francesco Lacquaniti [ITALY], for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.

    PEACE PRIZE: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding. (I imagine Mr. Lukashenko did not actually show up to receive this prize. A pity.)
  3. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    bardtoob and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Pretty sure BBT has already talked about Higgs-Boson.
  5. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    ^ Of course they have. Many, many times. I'm talking about the part that's new: the Nobel prize. Given that Sheldon's dream is to win a Nobel and that this is his field ... will he be happy or insanely jealous?
  6. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    So, we are making predictions now? :D

    I find that the Nobel Prize page has very comprehensive releases.

    Being a former experimental physicist, I very much dislike when the accolade is given just to the people that made the theoretic prediction, leaving out the ones that found the experimental evidence (it wouldn't be exactly practical here, since you'd probably have to include everyone that worked on the LHC experiments, but they could have included the team leader).

    And I am so far behind on my Ig Nobel readings :lol:. I used to be a devoted reader of the site, even after I left Physics, but I haven't checked it in ages...
    My all time favorite was the 2002 Physics prize: proof that beer froth decays exponentially
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    The Nigerian Phd student who proved that homosexuality is unnatural by showing that magnets repel each other should have won the Ig Nobel Prize! :drama:
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  8. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    I wanna get drunk everyday!:rockstar:
  9. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain


    Martin Karplus (US, Australia), Michael Levitt (US, UK), and Arieh Warshel (US, Israel) for "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems." They developed computer models and programs that simulate chemical processes.

    According to the AFP:
    And from CNN:
  10. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    You don't have to. The study confirmed that people who *think* they are drunk also think they are attractive. So all you need to do is think you are drunk, et voila!
  11. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Surprised that this hasn't been posted here yet. Canadians, you're slipping. ;)


    Alice Munro

  12. cygnus

    cygnus Well-Known Member

    I'm very happy for Alice Munro- she really is a great writer. I would have thought that if they were going to give it to a Canadian female writer, it would have gone to Margaret Atwood though. She seems to have a much higher international reputation.

    Still- it's good to see it go to a short story writer- it is a much under-appreciated genre.
  13. Alixana

    Alixana Definitely NOT a sonogram

    Also very happy for Alice Munro. Away From Her is one of my favourite short stories; loved the movie with Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent as well.
  14. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Some of us were still sleeping. Like Ms Munro was when her daughter phoned her with the news. :D

    I'm pretty thrilled about this. There have been past Nobel winners I've read and enjoyed, but she's the first one who's actually on my favourite authors list. She manages to write in a way that's exquisitely "literary" and still entirely accessible. Hugely deserving win.
  15. KCC

    KCC Well-Known Member

    I just rounded up all of my Margaret Atwood books to take to the local library. After holding onto some of them for decades, I am finally willing to release them to other readers.
  16. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    As far as the Israeli media is concerned, both Warshel and Levitt are Israeli and the rest is secondary ;)

    FWIW, Warshel is Israeli born and raised and completed his PhD here, and Levitt got his PhD here and has lived in Israel on and off ever since.
  17. Corianna

    Corianna Active Member

    Both are fine writers, but Margaret Atwood is a very outgoing person, who espouses worthy causes, speaks out on issues, and travels to literary international events, which is why she is better known.

    Alice Munro is very private, and does only what she can't avoid in regard to publicity,(publishing contract obligations) though she loves reading from her work in quiet venues. She has always preferred to keep her celebrity separate from her "real" life, and goes to great length to protect it. I was her neighbour and friend for many years and only occasionally did she wish to talk about her career or success. Even though she has become quite well off from her writing, she lived very simply.
    I once asked her how she coped with the pressure of being not just the greatest short story writer in Canada but one of the greatest of all time anywhere, and she shrugged... "Oh, you know, you just get on with the work"
    cygnus and (deleted member) like this.
  18. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    I predict that Amy Farrah Fowler will collaborate with Randy Schekman next season, resulting in jealousy from Sheldon :D
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  19. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    I was in Victoria last week. Wish I was there today instead -- I can imagine the fanfare at Munro Books. (Which, quite aside from any connection to the author, is my favourite bookstore in Canada.)
  20. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    :cheer2::cheer2: Congratulations, Alice Munro! :cheer2::cheer2: Love her short stories.
  21. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Peace: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is a group charged with enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention. They have been involved in investigating the situation in Syria, amongst other things.
  22. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Great choice. They do good work.
  23. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    A part of me was rooting for Malala Yousafzai, but think this was the right choice. It's good to see recognition for an organization that didn't previously have much of a public profile -- this will do wonders to let people know about the work they do.
  24. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    If you missed it here's Malala on The Daily Show. She's such an inspiration.
  25. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    ^ Her interview on the Daily Show was good, but although Jon treated her and her work with respect it was still a comedy show and he had to get in the requisite number of laughs. (It was fun to see her laugh, though.)

    For a much better interview, I suggest the one she did with Anna Maria Tremonti on The National the other night.
  26. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  27. Simone411

    Simone411 FSU Uber fan

    Thanks for sharing the video. Malala is a truly remarkable young lady.
  28. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    :rofl: I would be interested to see how this poor person with one arm clapped. Did he clap his hand against his thigh?
  29. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

    Good choices both in peace and literary. It is great that short stories get recognition they don´t often have. I know Munro´s translator in Finnish, she does great work, and her Finnish publishing house was thrilled.

    When I am back home from this trip, I reread her short stories. We have several volumes in our library. Congratulations to Canadian literature, too!
  30. Eden

    Eden Well-Known Member

    The third winner, Australian-American Professor Martin Karplus, has also connections to Israel. Most of his family members made an Aliyah (immigration) to Israel. ;)
    BTW, since 2001, 6 Israelis were among Chemistry Nobel winners:
    Avram Hershko & Aaron Ciechanover in 2001;
    Ada Yonath in 2009;
    Dan Shechtman in 2011;
    Arieh Warshel & Michael Levitt 2013.