Quirks & Quarks for Oct 9, 1999
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Eyes on the Prize, A Nobel Preview
The Nobels are the most
famous international science awards given out. Winners of the awards
become celebrities and their lives are never the same again. Dr.
Michael Smith is one of the canadian recipients of the award. Dr.
Harriet Zuckerman is a sociologist who has considered the effects of
winning the Nobel prizes in her studies of the scientists who have won
them. Dr. Jackie Duffin takes a look at how the Nobel prize in
physiology or medicine has evolved to the modern day.
Links to Noble
Foundation - The official website
Prize Internet Archive - Information on all the past winners
Micheal Smith - Profile of a Nobel Laureate
The 9th Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held last
week at Harvard University. The Ig Nobels honour individuals whose
achievements ìcannot or should not be reproduced.
Ten prizes are
awarded to people who have done remarkably goofy things. Among this
yearís winners were Dr. Len Fisher of England, who won the Physics prize
for calculating the optimal way to dunk a biscuit; Takeshi Makino of
Japan, won the Chemistry prize for inventing an infidelity spray that
wives can apply to their husbandsí underwear; and Dr. Arvid Vatle of
Norway, was awarded the Medicine Prize for collecting, classifying and
contemplating which kinds of containers his patients chose when
submitting urine samples.
The lone Canadian winner this year was Steve
Penfold of York University in Toronto, who won the Sociology Prize for
doing his PhD thesis on the sociology of Canadian donut shops.
full details, visit the Ig
Nobel Awards web site.
The Chemistry of Hydrothermal Vents
Hydrothermal vents occur where water penetrates deep into the earth, gets
heated by our planetís molten core, and rises back up, sometimes carrying
souvenirs with it. The water can dissolve minerals and metals that have
been locked away in the earthís crust, and bring them along on its ride
to the surface. Unfortunately, some of whatís coming up is not very
welcome. Recently an international team of geologists found a
hydrothermal vent thatís expelling large amounts of Mercury ñ a toxic
metal - right into the ocean. And theyíre raising concerns that similar
vents could be pumping much more Mercury into our seas.
Hannington is a Research Scientist with the Geological Survey of
Canada in Ottawa. He was part of the team that discovered the
Or read the original research abstract in "Geology"
Traditional biological theory says simple plants
moved from the oceans to the land. But a group of botanists are
challenging that idea. It's one of the conclusions from a five year study
conducted by 200 scientists around the world to map the family tree for
plants. Dr. Brent Mishler is a professor of Integrative Biology
from the University of California at Berkeley. He's one of the principal
investigators with the project.
To find out more visit the Green Plant Phylogeny Web Page.
Question of the
Week...The Titanic Baker
Dr. John Hayward, a professor
emeritus in Victoria B.C. gives a possible explaination for the survival
of the baker on the Titanic.
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