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The TSA really doesn't like it when you take your Nobel Prize in your carry-on

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Brian Schmidt won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on dark energy, and then he took the prize to Fargo to show off to his grandmother. As recounted to Clara Moskowitz at Scientific American the airport security people were a little put off by the way the giant piece of gold sucks up all the x-rays:

"They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’

I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’

They said, ‘What’s in the box?’

I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.

So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’

I said, ‘gold.’

And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’

‘The King of Sweden.’

‘Why did he give this to you?’

‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’

Traditionally, the one redeeming virtue of America's pointless airport security procedures has been this kind of democratic element. I was once stuck in an incredibly tedious and long customs line at Dulles Airport and who did I see with me in the line but Paul Krugman, on his way back from picking up his Nobel Prize in Stockholm. But with the rise of Global Entry and TSA Precheck it's now possible for people to buy their way out of some of the hassle.

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