Albert Einstein is pretty much a household name. In fact, we often refer to someone who is smart as “Einstein.” However, if the Nobel Foundation is to be believed, Professor Barry Marshall enjoys more popularity than the iconic scientist.
According to the Nobel Foundation, the University of Western Australia’s Nobel Prize winner, Professor Barry Marshall, is more popular than Albert Einstein. In fact, Professor Marshall is now ranked as the second most popular winner. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Junior, who won the Peace Prize in 1964, still tops the list, while Albert Einstein has to be content with the third spot in the popularity contest, reported the University of Western Australia.
When he discovered that he was considered more popular than Albert Einstein, who won the Physics Prize in 1921, Professor Marshall couldn’t hide his surprise, and only managed to say, “It made me smile.”
Though Professor Marshall isn’t as widely known in the physical world as Albert Einstein, he does have certain remarkable accolades. However, he adds a point that could contribute to his ascend.
“Well, he is not alive so that helps,” said the professor.
But jokes apart, very few would dare to do what Professor Marshall willingly did. Professor Marshall co-won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2005. But he is better remembered for the bizarre episode in which he acted as a human guinea pig. While Albert Einstein never ingested any of his theories, Professor Marshall swallowed a foul-smelling concoction containing the extremely dangerous helicobacter pylori, solely to support his research.
Miraculously, Professor Marshall survived the self-poisoning, but the experiment didn’t proceed as he had hoped. Professor Marshall strongly hoped he would get a life-threatening ulcer.
“I was hoping I was going to get an ulcer. I was hoping to boost my research career by developing a bleeding ulcer.”
Though his experiment didn’t go as planned, Professor Marshall did gain the notoriety of going to extreme measures just to get his research iron-clad.
Hans Mehlin from Nobel Media confirmed that popularity of a scientist was measured by the frequency of which online material produced by the prize winners was accessed, “The list is based on the number of visits to documents about the Laureates on nobelprize.org.”
The visits are collated and presented on daily basis by search engine Google via its platform Google Analytics, and Professor Marshall humbly attributes his recent ascension in the popularity chart to a recent international tour that allowed him to reach a wide and receptive audience.
“I traveled a lot this year and I always fly the West Australian flag. I try to put on a good show. It gets a lot of media,”
Though Professor Marshall might not have unraveled the mysteries of the universe like Albert Einstein, owing to the research he conducted with Emeritus Professor Robin Warren, most ulcers can now be cured with antibiotics and the incidence of gastric cancer has been significantly reduced.
[Image Credit | Science In A Can]