What Happens When You Take a Nobel Prize Through Airport Security

nobel prize in airport

Win­ning a Nobel Prize has its perks. When you talk, peo­ple lis­ten. And you end up doing a lot of talk­ing. And trav­el­ling.

Reflect­ing on how the Nobel Prize changed his life, Wal­ter Gilbert (1980 win­ner in Chem­istry) com­ment­ed, “You can find your­self spend­ing years trav­el­ling and talk­ing right after win­ning.”

And what if you want to take your Nobel Prize on the road with you? Accord­ing to astro­physi­cist Bri­an Schmidt (win­ner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics), that can present its own chal­lenges. He recent­ly told an audi­ence in New York:

‘There are a cou­ple of bizarre things that hap­pen. One of the things you get when you win a Nobel Prize is, well, a Nobel Prize. It’s about that big, that thick [about the size of an Olympic medal], weighs a half a pound, and it’s made of gold.”

“When I won this, my grand­ma, who lives in Far­go, North Dako­ta, want­ed to see it. I was com­ing around so I decid­ed I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that car­ry­ing around a Nobel Prize would be unevent­ful, and it was unevent­ful, until I tried to leave Far­go with it, and went through the X‑ray machine. I could see they were puz­zled. It was in my lap­top bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X‑rays—it’s com­plete­ly black. And they had nev­er seen any­thing com­plete­ly black.”

“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s some­thing in your bag.’
I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’
They said, ‘What’s in the box?’
I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.
So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’
I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhh­hh. Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Swe­den.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’
‘Because I helped dis­cov­er the expan­sion rate of the uni­verse was accel­er­at­ing.’
At which point, they were begin­ning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main ques­tion was, ‘Why were you in Far­go?’”

So just a word of cau­tion to Jean Tirole, who won the Nobel Prize in Eco­nom­ics today, if you’re ever vis­it­ing grand-mère…

via Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read 18 Short Sto­ries From Nobel Prize-Win­ning Writer Alice Munro Free Online

Jean-Paul Sartre Rejects the Nobel Prize in Lit­er­a­ture in 1964: “It Was Mon­strous!”

Hear Albert Camus Deliv­er His Nobel Prize Accep­tance Speech (1957)

Take a Free Course on the Finan­cial Mar­kets with Robert Shiller, Win­ner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Eco­nom­ics

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