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Ig-Nobel Prize Winner Finally Wins Real Nobel Prize!

Andre Geim is one of two Russian scientists honored with this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on graphene. But a decade ago Geim won a more dubious prize: an Ig-Nobel for his work levitating frogs with magnets. This makes Geim the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Ig-Nobel Prize in science. Here's the story from the Ig-Nobel site.

So why write about a physics Nobel Prize winner at the Chemical Heritage Foundation?  

First, because graphene is a discovery based on fullerenes. Robert F. Curl, Jr., Sir Harold W. Kroto, and Richard E. Smalley won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of fullerenes or bucky balls, as they have come to be known. (Graphene is a flat sheet of carbon the thickness of one atom. Other ways to describe it would be a "flattened fullerene" or s carbon nanotube.) 

But most importantly, we care here because Improbable Research, the folks who award the Ig-Nobel Prizes, want to "make people laugh, then think." At CHF we tell the story of chemistry. We too believe that story is exciting, entertaining, enlightening—and sometimes funny. Fullerenes and floating frogs are both part of the wonder of science.  

In one decade Andre Geim went on from levitating frogs to capturing the biggest prize in physics. Here are his thoughts on winning both awards. And here is the official press release on the 2010 Nobel Prize.

Posted In: Education | History

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