Stories tagged Nobel Prize

Contours of atoms in space
Contours of atoms in spaceCourtesy BBC
Dorothy Hodgkin had a unique sense of how atoms were structured to form some of the most important molecules of her day. This audio slideshow from the BBC--on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her birth--highlights how she discovered the structure of Vitamin B12, Penicillin, and Insulin. It's fascinating to see the connection between her childhood drawings of flowers and church mosaics and the complex orientation of the blobs of atoms in these miniscule molecules.

So this week I kicked butt in my fantasy football league, wracking up the league best 149 points. But how would I do in Fantasy Science – trying to predict the researchers and expert who this week will receive science's highest honor? Not that well, I'll tell you, but this USA Today writer gives it a go.

Coca Cola, fake medicine, strippers, potato chips, and armadillos– how did my list of weekend plans get on to Science Buzz?

Oh wait, this is the list of pseudo-science research that has been honored this week with Ig Nobel prizes. It’s the junk science equivalent of the much more esteemed Nobel prizes. Get the full details right here.

Oct
12
2007

The recipient of the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award makes his way to the stage: very slowly. (image courtesy of masochismtango on flickr.com)
The recipient of the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award makes his way to the stage: very slowly. (image courtesy of masochismtango on flickr.com)
One hates to be a JGordon-come-lately, but it’s about time that someone acknowledged that we are well into the scientific awards season. We ought to pay a little respect to the winners.

The Nobel Prizes have just been given out, of course. It was truly a dynamite season (if you will) for the laureates, with jaw-dropping upsets in the “Confusing Egghead” and “Meta-meta” categories, and a Cinderella story sweep of the "Intrapersonal Relations," "Fruity Drinks Studies," and “Ghosts, Goblins, and Ghouls” awards by the Chinese team. And naturally everyone was pleased to see the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award given to a truly ancient European man – he really deserved it. As usual, each winner received a valuable statue, free drinks for the evening, and an extra ticket for the door-prize raffle.

More importantly, October has brought us the announcement of the Ig Nobel Prizes, the achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The complete list of winners can be found here (including those from past years), but some of my favorites are the Aviation Prize, for research into curing hamsters of jetlag with Viagra; the Chemistry Prize, for extracting vanilla flavor from cow dung (one hates to waste it); and the Ig Nobel Peace Prize, for the proposed Gay Bomb, a non-lethal weapon that would make enemy soldiers “sexually irresistible” to each other. I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind that last one. At worst, I think it would just mean the end of camouflage uniforms.

It’s an exciting time we live in!