Monday, October 04, 2004

And the Nobel goes to...

A few days ago, the 2004 Ig Nobel prizes were announced. These are the awards given to researchers who have made discoveries nobody really needs. Today, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was announced, and it seemed to me to be a direct continuation of the Ig Nobels. It was given to two American researchers who have extensively investigated the sense of smell and have discovered how we identify different smells. Don't misunderstand me. I think this is important research, but it doesn't seem Nobel-worthy to me. This prize is usually given to people who are researching diseases or ways to ease the pain of the ill. With all due respect to the sense of smell - knowing how it works isn't going to save anybody's life.

The next Nobel prizes will be announced in the next few days. Maybe Amos Oz will finally win in literature (though I doubt it). I hope neither the head of the IAEA, Muhammad al-Baradai, nor the Pope (who yesterday beatified Karl I, the Austro-Hungarian emperor who authorized the use of gas in World War I) will win the peace prize. Neither do I want any Israelis or Palestinians to win. I don't think either side has anybody worthy of the prize right now.

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