Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ready for the Prize?

You can feel it in the air in early Autumn: the imminence of the Physics Nobel Prize announcement. I had just arrived at CERN this morning (after a major move from upper Manhattan to Chelsea...long story) when the announcement appeared. The COBE guys have finally gotten their due, and I suppose the huge success of the WMAP program, which is nominally "better", justified the lasting influence of the earlier measurements. However while year-after-year, I am consistently surprised by the choices (both in their content and timing), this year's lucky pair sounded somewhat prepared:
Smoot: ''The discovery was sort of fabulous. It was an incredible milestone. Now this is a great honor and recognition. It's amazing,'' he said.
Mather: "I can't say I was completely surprised, because people have said we should be awarded, but this is just such a rare and special honor,'' Mather said in a telephone interview with the Nobel committee.

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