Want a Nobel? Forgo glasses, shave, wait till you’re 60

Nobelists Marie Curie, William Lawrence Bragg, and Wilhelm Rontgen defied what have become long-standing odds against women, youth, and facial hair.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons )

When I interviewed Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka back in 2008, I had an inkling he’d win the Nobel Prize one day for his work on stem cells. I didn’t pay any mind to his appearance or background.

Yamanaka shared the Nobel in physiology or medicine this week with Britain’s John Gurdon for their groundbreaking work on changing adult cells into stem cells, which can become any type of cell in the body.

It turns out that Yamanaka defied the odds. He was born in September, he’s 50, bespectacled, and Japanese. According to a historical survey of Nobel laureates by the BBC, which goes back to 1901, those aren’t favorable characteristics.

Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka: Specs but no whiskers.

(Credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET )

The Beeb’s tongue-in-cheek infographic came with this question: “Genius, passion, hard work, and a little bit of luck — that’s what we are told … [Read more]

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