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“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

— Marie Curie

It’s award season once again, my friends, and this year the competition is as steep as a teabag in hot water. Yeah, I’m not sure where I was going with that last phrase either, so let’s just try to ignore it and move along. Now you may be thinking that the Oscars and the Golden globes aren’t until January, so why am I raising a glass so early? For that, all I can say is there are more awards in this world than just of the entertainment variety.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the news this week you may have missed the fact that this year’s Nobel Prizes have been announced. These coveted awards recognize the best in economics, physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. I can understand if you didn’t know about the Nobels, because let’s face it, they aren’t covered the same way other ceremonies are. For instance, you’ll never see some Oxford educated scientist who has discovered the cure for the common cold walking down a red carpet as paparazzi photographers go crazy snapping pictures. Because of his brilliance Albert Einstein was asked endless questions about the origins of the universe, but when he won the Nobel prize in physics no one thought to ask him “Who are you wearing?” And judging from the pictures I’ve seen of him, that's a shame because this was a man who had unlocked hidden secrets of the cosmos but apparently the true nature of a comb had escaped him.

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Seriously, Einstein is arguably one of the greatest minds that has ever lived, and yet he always looked like a third-grader coming in from recess. I’m not saying that people should be judged on their looks, but the nomination committee might consider the fact that if they want people to pay attention to the winners, they may want to choose winners worth looking at. There’s a reason we all know who Oscar winning Halle Berry or George Clooney are and it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Now you may be wondering just what the Nobel prizes are and for that we must look towards the past. The prizes were named after Alfred Nobel who, in a strange twist of fate, had the unique opportunity of reading his own obituary while he still had a pulse. In it he was coined as the “Tradesman of Death” because of his development of dynamite. This didn’t sit well with the very much alive Alfred, so, like an Ebenezer Scrooge story come to life, he did his best with his remaining days to promote peace and scientific advances.

His P.R. campaign worked so well that when you think of Nobel today your mind conjures images of M.L.K. instead of TNT. So, it is to you, the Nobel winners, that I say “congratulations.” True, your faces may never grace the cover of Vogue, but intelligence is something that is always in fashion.

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Auburn native Bradley Molloy’s column appears here each Sunday. He can be reached at lovonian@hotmail.com

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