Tonight is Oscar night, when a bounty of awards are given to film stars. February is also an important month for another set of awards. It’s the last month in which nominations can be submitted for this year’s Nobel Prizes. Here are some tales showing the connection between food and Nobel winners:
- After Columbia University professor Tsung-Dao Lee was named co-winner of the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, a sign went up in the window of his favorite Chinese restaurant in New York. It read: “Eat here, win Nobel Prize.”
- Ferid Murad, the Albanian-American who was co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Medicine, ran a restaurant with his wife to earn enough money to send their children through college.
- Vitaly Ginzburg, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2003, endured a childhood of hardship in Soviet Russia. Times were so tough that his family sometimes made their meals from dog meat.
- Jane Addams was nominated 91 times for a Nobel Prize before she finally received the honor in 1931. The Illinois native gained fame for opening Hull House, a so-called settlement house that sought to create social and educational opportunities for the poor. Hull House even had a coffee house within its premises, but not because Addams was a java lover. The coffee house was created mostly to discourage residents from visiting nearby saloons.