Nobel Laureate wins prize parking space

October 9, 2011 • 5:41 am

From  the University of California at Berkeley News Center, via Starts with a Bang, we learn that the one of the latest physics laureates, Saul Perlmutter (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Woody Allen), got an encomium far more valuable than the prize itself:

Inevitably, a reporter wondered when Perlmutter would get his Nobelist’s parking permit, one of the international prize’s notable campus perks.  “I was assuming today,” Perlmutter replied, adding that “the only reason to win a Nobel Prize is so that you can park on campus.”

In answer to the reporter’s question, the Chancellor leaped up and presented Perlmutter with an NL (Nobel Laureate) parking permit.

It’s not a joke, folks!:

And from Time Magazine, an article about how some Nobel Laureates spent their prize money. Not included in the list is Richard Feynman, who used his dosh to buy a beach house in Baja California.

h/t: Michael

11 thoughts on “Nobel Laureate wins prize parking space

  1. When I was a student at Berkeley, the rumor was that a Nobel prize got you a parking space, but I always assumed it was just a campus legend.

    Then Czeslaw Milosz, who was teaching there, got the prize. And the next day, while I was walking through campus, I saw campus workers putting up a sign that said, “Reserved for Milosz”.

  2. I thought Feynman used his Nobel money to pre-pay his income taxes for a good many years. Anybody know which is the truth, beach house or taxes? Or are both true?

    1. I cannot imagine Feynman paying income tax early unless there was a huge discount for doing so! Wiki says this:

      He later married Gweneth Howarth from Ripponden, Yorkshire, who shared his enthusiasm for life and spirited adventure. Besides their home in Altadena, California, they had a beach house in Baja California, purchased with the prize money from Feynman’s Nobel Prize, his one third share of $55,000.

      In Feynman’s day I believe there was no U.S. tax on the Nobel prize, but there was from 1987 onwards (I haven’t checked this), so your story could not have been about RF giving a chunk of his prize to the thugs-in-suits from the IRS.

      HERE is a video showing Casita Barranca claiming:

      Beautiful Baja Beach Rental (3 Bedroom / 2 Bath) […] built by Nobel Peace Prize Physicist and widely read author Richard Feynman. The large master bedroom has a king-size bed and a built-in… blah blah blah

      Of course this might be like the numerous old oak trees, pubs, houses & barns near me that King Charles II used to hide from the Roundheads

      1. It is the beach house of Feynman all right. Feynman spend quite some time there and our neighbors remember him well.

  3. Now that you have said he is like Woody Allen, all I can imagine is how Perlmutter will act going to get his Nobel Prize: “Oh my goodness, should I get this prize? Should I reject it? I feel nauseous!”

    Well, you do the Woody Allen impression. :^)

  4. I heard Professor Akerlof speak at Berkeley a while after getting his NP. During audience Q&A, someone asked whether the whole parking thing was true. He said yes, it’s true, but more importantly, that any economist worth his salt would rather take the cash value of an on-campus parking sticker. That got laughs. But he smiled and acknowledge how great it is to park on campus.

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