Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nobel News

TigerBlog went into the Frist Campus Center yesterday to get his flu shot and figured it would be like every other year.

Maybe there'd be a five-minute wait.

This time, it was much different. There was a line out the door and back up the stairs. Were more people getting a flu shot? Was it just coincidence that everyone went at the same time?

There was a monitor at the top of the stairs who was telling everyone that it was about a 25-minute wait. In this way, it was like walking into a restaurant and hearing there'd be a 25-minute wait for a table.

What do you do in that situation? What's your cut off for how long you'll wait? TigerBlog knows someone who won't go to a restaurant and sit down immediately no matter how uncrowded it is; he wants to go to the bar first and then sit at his table.

Anyway, how long do you wait out a table at a place in which you're already standing? Usually, by the time you find another place to eat, your table at the first place would probably be ready.

That's what TigerBlog was thinking when he considered leaving Frist and coming back later.

As it turned out, it felt more like going through airport security rather than waiting for a table at a restaurant. The line went down the stairs and into the room, where everyone had to fill out their consent form.

And then it snaked back and forth through dividers until you go to the front, at which point you were sent to the next available table. That's the part that felt like airport security.

 In TigerBlog's case, it was table No. 3. Start to finish was pretty much 25 minutes, just like the maitre D - uh, student worker - said when TB got there. Just as impressive was the other student who said that it would be about 15 minutes from that point until he got his shot.

How long did it take? Exactly 15 minutes.

As TB walked over to Frist, he walked past a sign, like a lawn sign, that said "Nobel Prize press conference in Frick Chemistry Building" with an arrow pointing in the right direction.

Considering that physics professor F. Duncan Haldane was named as a Nobel winner Tuesday, having the signs out yesterday meant one of two things. Either 1) somebody moved very quickly to get them made or 2) Princeton has pre-printed signs for its Nobel winners' press conferences, perhaps assuming that there will be one each year.

If TigerBlog is counting correctly, then Haldane is Princeton's 41st Nobel Prize winner. Kudos to whoever updated the webpage that has the list of Nobel winners on it to already include Haldane.

The coolest thing that TB saw surrounding the news about the latest Nobel winner at Princeton was that Haldane celebrated by going to teach his regularly scheduled class. How amazing would that be?

TigerBlog would do that. If he won the Nobel Prize for blog-writing, he'd still write another one the next day.

Craig Sachson, TigerBlog's colleague, tweeted a picture of the press conference sign. Vikram Rao, a former Daily Princetonian sportswriter, tweeted back that Craig would always be a Nobel Prize-winning SID to him.

It's not quite the same award as a Nobel Prize, but Princeton did have two of the five national winners of the 2016 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. This award goes to one winner in each of five regions around the country, out of more than one million high school football players.

Princeton's winners are John Orr, the South Region winner from Tennessee, and Andrew Griffin, the Central Region winner from Indiana. Both are freshmen on the Princeton football team, and the award recognizes only their high school achievements.

So that's two of the five winners nationally from Princeton.

Sometimes, it's worth taking a step back from the games themselves and their impact on Ivy races and focusing instead on the bigger picture of the institution itself. Princeton University is an extraordinary place, where the every day result of doing business the way Princeton does is that it produces Nobel Prize winners, national scholar-athlete winners and basically everything else in between.

Last year alone Princeton Athletics produced a Pyne Prize winner, a Spirit of Princeton winner and a Rhodes Scholar - while winning 15 league championships.

That's not too shabby.

It's what keeps everyone who works here so focused and driven, year after year. There's a standard that's been set here, and it's not one to be taken for granted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My freshman year, physics professor David Wilkinson told our class in late September that you knew the Princeton physics department was strong because, every year at Nobel Prize time, everybody is very nervous.