In a surprise last minute press release the Nobel Foundation has announced that this year's Nobel Prizes will be given out via reality show style competitions rather than by the traditional committee deliberations.
Marcus Snorch, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nobel Foundation said in at a press conference announcing the new system "We have noticed that in the last 5-10 years there has been a diminishing interest in the Nobel Prizes. This decrease appears linked to the steady increase in popularity of so-called reality show competitions. We felt like it was time for the Nobel Prize to try and attract a younger audience. Our reality Nobel series should be highly popular."
Barbara Connon, chairman of the Nobel Foundation Board of Trustees concurred, "We all felt like a shake up was necessary. The Nobel Prize is so important for the world, yet nobody was paying attention anymore. Our new approach, where semifinalists are announced in advance and then a competition decides the winner, should bring new attention to the Prizes"
The announcement represents an agreement between the many institutions involved in awarding the Nobel Prizes including the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that presides over the prizes in Chemistry, Physics and Economics; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska which awards the Prize in Medicine, the Swedish Academy which awards the Literature prize and the Norwegian Nobel Committee that awards the Peace Prize.
At the press conference, the Nobel Foundation presented the new reality series, one for each Nobel Prize. The example they highlighted relates to this years prize in Physiology and Medicine which will be given out via "Nobel Survivor." This show will feature Nobel Semifinalists living on a remote tropical island and the competitions will feature major medical "events" that one member of each team will experience. Each week the team that responds least well to the challenge will have to vote off one member. The challenges will include infections by schistosomes and filarial nematodes, a series of autoimmune disorders, premature aging, erectile disfunction, and severe body odor. The competitions will be presided over by Hugh Laurie.
"Many of the Physiology and Medicine prizes have been criticized for being too disconnected from actual Medicine. So we figured what better way to pick the winner than to make them actually do some medicine, but without all the comforts of home," said Barbara Connon. This years semifinalists who will be participating include J. Craig Venter, Lee Hood, Joan Steitz, Alec Jeffreys, Carl Woese, Norm Pace, Mary Claire King, Douglas Coleman, Elaine Fuchs, and James Till.
Other shows for this and future year's prizes include:
Sweden's Next Model (System)
The 2011 Medicine and Physiology prize will feature a competition to determine what is the best model organism.
Real Literature Idol
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature will be given out via a literature reading and slam poetry series dubbed "Real Literature Idol"
The Amazing Particle Race
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics will be given out to the scientist who is best able to maneuver their particle through a month long journey around the globe.
Dancing Peacefully With the Stars
Enough with Peace Prizes being given to people who work on abstract global issues. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize will be given out through a dance competition. All "stars" selected for the competition will be notorious for their difficulty in getting along with others and will include Mel Gibson, Alex Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Barbara Streisand, Kanye West, Dick Cheney, Amy Winehouse, and Courtney Love.
The Swedish Chef
In order to make chemistry more "Real" for the public, the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be awarded in a Swedish Cooking competition.
The Nobel Apprentice
The Prize in Economic Sciences (though not technically a formal Nobel Prize) will be awarded via a collaboration with an existing reality show "The Apprentice." Candidates for the prize will compete to be Donald Trumps economic advisor.
The Nobel Foundation is also soliciting feedback, right here on this blog, for ideas for other Nobel Prize related reality shows for future awards. Please submit suggestions.