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2008 Nobel Prize for Physics
October 7, 2008 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Nobels for Physics announced. The prize will be shared between three individuals, including one American teaching at the University of Chicago. The other two winners are from Japan, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa .
posted by leybman (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
It is a terrible, terrible sign that I saw "Makoto Kobayashi" and immediately thought of What's Michael?

I mean, I don't even read Japanese comics anymore…
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:41 AM on October 7, 2008


Passed over again. Geesh, what do I have to do to win one of these, cure polio?
posted by mecran01 at 5:57 AM on October 7, 2008


If you cured polio by solving a physics problem, I'm pretty sure you'd be guaranteed a Nobel.
posted by DU at 6:24 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Another theoretical HEP winner, go figure.
posted by FuManchu at 6:37 AM on October 7, 2008


The fact that nature operates otherwise, physicists hope, is a step on the way to explaining why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter...

Sucks for me because all my assets are tied up in antimatter.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:49 AM on October 7, 2008


That makes, like, 642 Nobels for the U. of C. or something. But still only one Heisman.
posted by stargell at 7:26 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heisman, schmeisman. Pfft. We're still undefeated against Notre Dame.
posted by qcubed at 7:49 AM on October 7, 2008


The American winner is from Japan too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2008


Physics Nobel snubs key researcher - NewScientist
posted by edd at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2008


That makes, like, 642 Nobels for the U. of C. or something.

Yeeeaah, w00t w00t, throw another one on the pile, baby!
posted by The Straightener at 8:32 AM on October 7, 2008


To be fair, most of our Nobels are in Economics, and right about now those aren't looking so shiny.
posted by The Bellman at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2008


It is a terrible, terrible sign that I saw "Makoto Kobayashi" and immediately thought of eating hot dogs?
posted by bDiddy at 9:18 AM on October 7, 2008


I used to see Nambu at seminars from time to time, when I was a physics grad student at U. of C. and he was an emeritus. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy — and about damn time, as well; he's definitely getting on.

As far as whether Cabibbo deserved a share of the prize, I can sympathize with the Nobel Committee here. Cabibbo laid the groundwork, but it was really Kobayashi and Masakawa who actually took that formalism, connected it to an interesting phenomenon (CP-violation), and made a prediction that was subsequently validated. At least he'll be able to commiserate with Freeman Dyson and Leo Kadanoff.

Another theoretical HEP winner, go figure.

"Another"? The last theoretical HEP winner was four years ago, the one before that was nine, and the one before that was 29 years ago. They're really not all that common.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:09 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh man, you're right JA. -1 to me.
posted by FuManchu at 11:28 AM on October 7, 2008


“That makes, like, 642 Nobels for the U. of C. or something.”

I’ve spoken to some folks overseas about why I choose to live in Chicago. Granted, I grew up around here - still, I could live just about anywhere (I quite liked Reykjavik and Vienna - haven’t been to Vancouver tho’). And some people seem to have this weird idea of Chicago as some jerkwater sports town. Oh sure, we’re not New York or L.A. there’s things in terms of scale, etc. - but c’mon, we’re hugely literate, educated, etc etc. I have to remind people of the U of C. About the only thing they seem to remember is the Manhattan project or yeah, economics. There’s so much good work going on here and it’s like it’s underground or something.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:51 AM on October 7, 2008


Smedleyman,

From what I hear UoC is easier to get into than any other American university of its calibre for this very reason.
posted by atrazine at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2008


When I was a freshman at the U. of C. I got a work-study job with the Office of Radio and Television, which produced a couple syndicated radio programs, From the Midway and Conversations at Chicago. I would be sent to record lectures by prominent professors and visiting scholars (using one of these) for possible re-broadcast. I was also supposed to take notes to give the producer an idea of what was in the lecture. The day after James Cronin won the Nobel in Physics he gave the regular Physics Department talk, so my boss sent me out to tape it. The hall was filled to overflowing, of course. I had to wire him up for sound after he went to the podium, and as I did I joked that I was "rigging him for the explosion." Made a room full of Physics profs and science reporters laugh, which for a kid who a month or so earlier was getting drunk by the railroad tracks and going on mailbox-smashing sprees was pretty good, I thought.

My note-taking lasted about five minutes. The subject matter was just a little over my head.
posted by stargell at 1:11 PM on October 7, 2008


Seems like Jeffrey Goldstone got the shaft here, considering that Nambu got the prize for "the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking", associated usually with both Nambu and Goldstone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nambu-Goldstone_boson
posted by snoktruix at 3:47 PM on October 7, 2008


Needs more IgNobles
posted by liza at 6:51 AM on October 8, 2008


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