Friday, October 12, 2007

Confessions of a Nobel Prize junkie

Yep, it's true, I'm a Nobel Prize junkie. I eagerly await the announcements every year, especially Physics and Peace. This year the Nobel folks set up RSS feeds so you can find out almost instantly when the prizes are announced (provided you are sitting at your computer in the early morning hours US time) and have links to videos of the announcements, summaries of the work the prizes are awarded for, etc. They have more info on the prizes and my favorite sections - "Memories of the magic call".

So, given this, you can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to sit and chat briefly with last year's Physics co-winner, John Mather, who was here to give a couple of lectures and receive the Antoinette de Vaucouleurs memorial medal. Like an idiot though, I forgot to ask him about "getting the call"! D'oh! I also have never asked Steven Weinberg about his call for some reason. Well, if he asks me to help him with graphics for a Power Point presentation again, I'll have to turn into a fangirl and ask him. :)

And yes, I was very pleased with this morning's announcement of the Peace Prize, given jointly to Al Gore and the IPCC. To show what a total Nobel geek I am, we typically flip the TV on as soon as the alarm goes off and turn it over to the news. Knowing that the announcement was made about two hours before we got up, I instantly started reading the "crawl" across the bottom of the screen (something that usually annoys the heck out of me but was quite useful this time!). About the third or fourth story that came across started "Vice President Al Gore..." and I knew that he had won. I wonder if this the first time someone has won an Oscar and a Nobel in the same year?

And to finish my thoughts about the Physics prize in particular, it still amazes me that some of the experiments we did in the first year quantum physics lab won people Nobel prizes a century earlier. It just goes to show you how quickly science advanced in the 20th century!

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