Nobel Noise

For more that 20 years, October has been the time when the eager beavers in the university PR department get a little too excited as they drill in preparation for the possibility that I might receive a Nobel prize.

I used to try to explain how low the odds are, but found that this was like talking to someone who has just been given a ticket for the upcoming $100 million lottery. All they can think about is how they’ll spend the money. Then I tried telling them that I’ve been through this many times and nothing happens. This does not work either. Somehow, they convince themselves that “this time is different.” Now I just try to be a good sport and let them have their fun.

Apparently someone at NYU prepared a new webpage for me that they could use on Monday. Then someone else made a mistake and released it to the production website, where it remained at least for a while. If you are curious, there is apparently an archived version somewhere that should not be hard to find.

Of course, there is zero information in this. It is the type of mistake that could have been made in any of the last twenty years. In fact, I have been through this before. At Stanford, someone working on a draft press release sent it to the wrong email address list. (Note: Autocomplete is not your friend.) I think it went to a bunch of donors. I recall getting congratulatory emails back from some of them. I replied that it was a mistake. Maybe they think I really got it and am just maintaining an appearance of false modesty. Maybe Stanford got some extra donations too.

Meanwhile, I’m having my fun in conversations at the World Bank: