American economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the 2020 Nobel Economics Prize for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats on Monday. Both Milgrom and Wilson are professors at Stanford University in the United States.
Now the Nobel Prize committee usually calls the winners just before announcing their names. The event takes place in the middle of the day in Stockholm but in the United States, that means it’s the wee hours of the morning. It was 2am when Wilson and Milgrom got the call. While Milgrom was fast asleep with his phone on silent mode, his neighbour and co-winner Wilson woke up.
Unable to reach Milgrom, Wilson headed across the street to his colleague’s house with his wife. CNN reports that Wilson rang the doorbell and woke Milgrom up to inform him about the Nobel prize.
The official Twitter handle for Stanford University also tweeted the video and narrated the heartwarming story. The tweet said that Milgrom’s wife was away at the time and that she received a security notification when Wilson rang the bell. Through the security camera, she got to watch the moment her husband found out about his Nobel live.
The #NobelPrize committee couldn't reach Paul Milgrom to share the news that he won, so his fellow winner and neighbor Robert Wilson knocked on his door in the middle of the night. pic.twitter.com/MvhxZcgutZ— Stanford University (@Stanford) October 12, 2020
“When Robert Wilson rang Paul Milgrom’s doorbell at 2:15 this morning, Milgrom’s wife, who’s in Stockholm, received a security-camera notification on her phone. She got to watch live as Wilson told Milgrom he’d won the #NobelPrize," the tweet read.
When Robert Wilson rang Paul Milgrom's doorbell at 2:15 this morning, Milgrom's wife, who's in Stockholm, received a security-camera notification on her phone. She got to watch live as Wilson told Milgrom he'd won the #NobelPrize.— Stanford University (@Stanford) October 12, 2020
“I was asleep and the doorbell rang at 2 in the morning. And then I picked up the phone - it’s a video doorbell. And I saw Bob’s face and he was knocking at the door, telling me that they were trying to call me and that we had won a Nobel Prize, which is pretty, pretty good news," Milgrom later told Reuters, according to a report by The Guardian.
The economics prize, won by such luminaries as Paul Krugman and Milton Friedman in the past, was the final of the six awards in 2020, a year in which the Nobels have been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The traditional gala winners’ dinner in December has been cancelled and other parts of the celebrations are being held digitally to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.