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Dublin: 11°C Monday 17 May 2021
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Who's the Daddy? He is...

The “father of the test-tube baby” has taken the 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine, while the Ig Nobels celebrate slightly more obscure scientific, er, achievements.

Robert G Edwards, 2010 Nobel laureate for his work in IVF, with Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby
Robert G Edwards, 2010 Nobel laureate for his work in IVF, with Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby

HE IS RESPONSIBLE for the birth of around four million people – and now he’s been awarded a Nobel Prize for it. Robert G Edwards has just been announced as this year’s Nobel laureate in medicine for his pioneering work in reproductive medicine. His development of conception through in-vitro fertilisation led to the birth of the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in England on July 25, 1978.

Today’s announcement kicks off a week of prizes, with the laureates for physics, chemistry, literature and peace to be revealed, one each day, until Friday. The Nobel Prize for economics will be announced next Monday.

The triumph of Edwards comes after a weekend of celebration for the winners of the Ig Nobel prizes. The Ig Nobels style themselves as the awards for achievements that “first make people laugh, then make them think”. Discoveries by winners of the 2010 Ig Nobel gongs include a device to collect whale snot and the f*&£$!* brilliant confirmation that swearing can relieve pain.

While Edwards took his Nobel for allievating the heartache of infertile couples, the Ig Nobel for medicine went to two Dutch scientists who discovered that the symptoms of asthma can be relieved with a ride on a rollercoaster. (See here for the science bit).

The physics prize went to a group of university researchers from New Zealand who demonstrated that people slip and fall less often on icy footpaths if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

Maybe they should send a copy of their research to this poor guy who added to the gaiety of the nation by taking a dive on an icy footpath during last winter’s big freeze… in front of an RTE news camera.

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