science news

Live Longer by Winning Nobel Chemistry Prize

Reuters is reporting a study indicating that winning the Nobel Prize can increase your life expectancy by almost 2 years.


LONDON (Reuters) – Winning the Nobel Prize quite literally gives scientists a new lease of life. New research at the University of Warwick in central England shows that scientists who have won the prize for their work in chemistry and physics not only get cash and kudos but they live two years longer than colleagues who have only been nominated.

“Status seems to work a kind of health-giving magic. Once we do the statistical corrections, walking across that platform in Stockholm apparently adds about two years to a scientist’s lifespan,” Professor Andrew Oswald said.

“How status does this, we just don’t know.”

Oswald and government economist Matthew Rablen compared the lifespan of 524 scientists who had been nominated for the prize between 1901 and 1950, including 135 who had won it.

The average lifespan in the group was 76 years but winners lived on average 1.4 years longer than nominees. The gap widened another two-thirds of a year when winners and losers from the same country were compared, according to the study.

The amount of prize money given to winners has changed since Alfred Nobel established the Nobel Prize which was first awarded in 1901. But Oswald said the amount of prize money did not have an impact on lifespan, nor did being nominated more than once.

The article can be found here: Reuters

Although, I’m not sure how they determined who the nominees were, I thought that was kept secret? Anyways, if you want to live longer go back to lab and give up having a life and aim for that Nobel prize!


By January 16, 2007 0 comments science news

Did Professor Steve Morris Get His Drunk-Alcoholic Elephant Theory Wrong?

Steve Morris has an interesting paper out in the Journal of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology arguing that elephants can not get drunk in the wild from eating rotting fruit from the Marula tree.


The suggestion that the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) becomes intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is an attractive, established, and persistent tale…Such tales, it seems, may result from “humanizing” elephant behavior.

He proves this with various models, and concludes an elephant would have to eat 4x their usual diet to become intoxicated.

Here is a link to a nice video from youtube apparently disproving his paper.

The image is of an elephant so drunk from Marula fruit that it walks into a tree. Click the picture above to see the whole video. Although, I could fully believe an aggressive nature cinematographer liquored up a bunch of animals for this video, I just kind of doubt it.

Link to paper:


By November 12, 2006 0 comments science news

The famous moonwalking Red-capped manakin (Pipra mentalis)

This was featured over at Improbable Research. The general gist is that the male Red-capped manakin will do a very impressive moonwalk to attract the females. Unfortunately, for the biologist, she didn’t make it to David Bradley’s top 10. Here is a screen cap of the bird. And here is a link to the video: bird moonwalk.


By September 27, 2006 0 comments science news

Radon is killing at a rate of 21,100 Americans a year

I was a bit surprised at the number myself. The figure is reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Chemical Education, by Charles H. Atwood in the article Radon in Homes: Recent Developments. What was also interesting is that there is no safe amount of radon exposure. Meaning, once some radon decays in your lungs you will be at greater risk of lung cancer. We kind of like to think, “Hey, some chemicals are toxic sure, but a little exposure can’t really hurt us?” Well, Radon is not one of those chemicals. Since, terrorists killed 3000 Americans in a single day, you would think the hazards associated with Radon would get more publicity since it kills more Americans annually. But hell, if smoking which kills 160,000 Americans annually falls between the cracks surely radon would too. Attached is a figure taken from the above mentioned paper detailing the areas of the country with the highest risk of Radon.


By September 20, 2006 0 comments science news