I will admit that I am greatly impressed by Andre Geim, who won both the Ig (for levitating a frog, I think he showed there was enough iron in the haemoglobin to be able to do this?) and the Nobel for graphene. But this year there some interest:
Scientists at Oxford University were awarded the Diagnostic Medicine Prize for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evidence when the patient is driven over speed bumps.
Dr Helen Ashdown of the Department of Primary Care Health Services at the University of Oxford said: “It may sound odd, but asking patients whether their pain worsened going over speed bumps on their way to hospital could help doctors in a diagnosis. It turns out to be as good as many other ways of assessing people with suspected appendicitis.”
The Physics prize went to researchers at Georgia Tech who found that most mammals take 21 seconds to urinate, while the Chemistry Prize was awarded to the University of California for inventing a chemical recipe to un-boil an egg. They added urea to a hardboiled egg to break down proteins and return it to its liquid form, before using a machine to re-assemble the broken pieces.
‘Yes, we invented a way to unboil a hen egg,’ said Professor Gregory Weiss, a biochemist at UC Irvine. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold.’
The prize for Mathematics was awarded to the University of Vienna for attempts to determine whether the bloodthirsty Emperor of Morocco Moulay Ismael really could have fathered 888 children between 1697 and 1727.
The scientists worked out that it was theoretically possible, if the leader had sex once a day for 32 years without a break.
Now there’s something to aspire to, eh?