Celebrating Discoveries in Physics and Other Not So Nobel Awards

The nobel prize in Physics was awarded today. As a former Physics major in college, I’m always curious on who wins this esteemed prize. I’m actually more interested in this award than the much hyped Noble Peace prize.

So who won the physics award this year? According to MSNBC:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – France’s Albert Fert and German Peter Gruenberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for a discovery that lets billions of computer users store reams of data on computer hard drives.

The technology “can also be considered one of the first real applications of the promising field of nanotechnology,” which deals with extremely small devices, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its citation.

This is exciting because of the real world application of quantum mechanics. Unlocking the quantum world will unleash technologies we have never even imagined yet, starting with nanotechnology but extending to things like DNA/Quantum computers etc. I hope to be alive to see it all happen.

Just for the record, I want you to know I’m not always thinking about serious stuff. I also like to keep tabs on the dark side of research and human progress.  Every year the Ig-Nobel prize (a parody of the Noble prize) is awarded in different categories. This year the US Military’s “Gay Bomb” is the most prominent of the winners. I’m not making this up and it’s not from The Onion either. Check out the complete list for 2007.

Some of the notable winners:

Aviation: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra.

Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a “gay bomb,” which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attracted to each other.

Medicine: Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, for investigating the side-effects of swallowing swords.

Linguistics: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can’t distinguish between Japanese, played backward, and Dutch, played backward.


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