Economist Paul Milgrom Finds Out He Won Nobel Prize When Co-Winner Robert Wilson Knocks on His Door

Stanford
Stanford

When Stanford University professor Paul Milgrom won the Nobel Prize in economics, the committee who announces the victors could not reach him. So co-winner Robert Wilson, who happens to live nearby, knocked on his door in the middle of the night to tell him the good news.

The unlikely event was captured on Milgrom’s Nest doorbell surveillance camera Monday at his California home and was posted to Stanford University’s Twitter page, where it has gone viral with over 4.6 million views.

In the video, which began recording at 2:15 a.m., Wilson tells Milgrom that the committee tried reaching him by phone, but could not connect and he had gotten the good news so he and his wife, Mary, went over to tell him.

"Paul, it's Bob Wilson," Wilson says. "You've won the Nobel Prize. And so they're trying to reach you, but they cannot. They don't seem to have a number for you."

"We gave them your cell phone number," Mary says.

"Yeah, I have? Wow," Milgrom answered from inside his home.

"Will you answer your phone?" Mary jokingly asked.

The Nobel committee is based in Stockholm, Sweden, so naturally when they started making calls to the West Coast of the United States, the time difference between the areas caused a few hiccups.

Milgrom and Wilson "used their insights to design new auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement. "Their discoveries have benefited sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world."

Stanford University said posted on Twitter that Milgrom’s wife, who happened to be in Stockholm at the time, got an alert on her phone about who was at the door at such a strange time.

“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,” they tweeted.

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