The Loh Down On Science

Golden Eggs

The Nobel Prize: so 20th century!  Doesn't the 21st demand something hipper? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and the Golden Goose Award. 

Ever heard of it?  Of course not.  And there's a lot of scientific research no one's heard of, either.  That's where the Golden Goose Award comes in.  It's the brainchild of Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.  It honors scientists whose federally funded research once seemed too obscure for mainstream attention.  But which, like the goose's golden egg, ended up being quite valuable.

Take population biologist Joel Cohen and geophysicist Christopher Small—two of twenty-fifteen's awardees.  In the nineteen-nineties, they began mapping where populations are distributed on Earth and at what altitude.  Their field is called "hypsographic demography."  Sexy!

It turns out to be pretty important for policy makers worried about sea-level rise.  Or for companies like Procter and Gamble, who want their soaps to work at high altitudes.

The award named its first recipients in twenty-twelve.

So if someone tells you, "Congress gave me a giant goose-egg" they’re not flipping the bird.  Congratulate them!


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