More about Nobel…

So, the incredible US streak has been broken today, as the newest Nobel prize winner has been announced. Orhan Pamuk is a writer from Turkey, which is just great for them but what about us Americans? Will no one think of the Americans? I suppose I’ll have to wait until next year for mass celebrations in the streets as we go undefeated.

Speaking of Nobel prizes, apparently some fundamentalist chemists are up in arms over the awarding of the Chemistry Prize to someone who was ostensibly doing biology. I don’t mean chemists who believe the Earth was created in exactly six days, I mean people who are fundamentalists about chemistry. I know, I did a double take, too. It seems to me as though the current trend in science is encouraging a more collaborative approach to research over multiple disciplines — I’ve seen a few recently-built labs that are designed specifically to facilitate this kind of cross-pollination. I wonder if the researchers who benefit from this blurring of lines resent the segregation favored by the fundamentalists? I picture two water fountains in a science center hallway, each with a sign over it reading either “Chemists” or “Biologists.” A sad state of affairs, to be sure.

On a final note, those of you who missed last week’s Ig Nobel awards at Harvard University can catch the proceedings online by clicking here. Winners included Francis M. Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, for his study on the “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.” Congratulations to Dr. Fesmire and his very satisfied patient.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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  1. So nsetzer, are you going to TAM?

    If so, bring them along for the forum party ;)

    We almost bought a bunch of them last year for that same reason, but ended up not doing anything special in the end …

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