Winning the Nobel Prize sounds like a fairytale so huge and momentous it couldn’t possibly be true. So much so, in fact, that one of this year’s laureates literally ignored the call telling him he’d won. It was down to Paul Milgrom’s co-recipient and neighbour Robert Wilson to bang on his door at 2:15 am on Monday, waking him up with the news they’d been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
The moment was captured on the Nest Cam outside Milgrom’s home in Stanford, California. Accompanied by his wife Mary, Wilson repeatedly knocked and rang the doorbell, rousing Milgrom to inform him of their accomplishment.
“It’s Bob Wilson,” he says. “You’ve won the Nobel Prize, and so they’re trying to reach you but they cannot. They don’t seem to have the number for you.”
“We gave them your cellphone number,” interjects Mary.
“Yeah, wow,” responds Milgrom, probably still wiping sleep from his eyes and half convinced this was a dream. He’d ignored the initial call from the Nobel committee because he’d thought it was spam, unplugging his landline. “Yeah, okay.”
The pair of economists from Stanford University have been awarded $10 million Swedish kronor for their work in auction theory and invention of new auction formats. That’s about US$1 million.
“There are times that I have ideas and people think, ‘That’s too novel, that’s crazy, we’re not going to try that,'” Milgrom told Stanford University. “But I think that one of the effects of a prize like this is that people will pause before rejecting. They’ll take things more seriously, and that will help me make novel things happen.”
Mashable has reached out to Stanford University for comment.