Why It’s Best Not to Win the Nobel Prize

His fellow physicist Steven Weinberg says the Nobel committee has “fleeced” Freeman Dyson. But Dyson prefers the infamy of never having won.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: Are you upset at never having won a Nobel Prize?


Freeman Dyson:  Well I remember Joyce… Jocelyn Bell, the lady who discovered pulsars never got the Nobel Prize and she was here talking to the students just a couple of years ago.  She is now a very distinguished scientist and she discovered pulsars about 40 years ago and anyway, students were asking her, “Are you sorry you didn’t get the Nobel Prize?”  And she said, “Oh no, I’ve been, all my life I’ve just been famous for not having the Nobel Prize.”  And that was actually much better and so I think she is right.  I mean you know it’s much…  If people ask why didn’t you get the prize it’s much better than if they’re asking why did you get it.


Question: Of which honor or achievement are you proudest?


Freeman Dyson:  Well, I would say bringing up six kids who are all productive citizens.


Recorded March 5, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen