The reaction of a Stanford professor who was named a Nobel Prize-winner in economics was captured early Monday for the world thanks to a doorbell camera and a persistent colleague.
The Nobel Committee apparently had some trouble contacting Paul Milgrom to let him know the winning news, so his neighbor and fellow winner, Robert Wilson, took matters into his own hands. Wilson knocked on Milgrom’s door about 2:15 a.m. to get his colleague’s attention, according to Stanford University.
The prestigious California school posted a video from Milgrom’s Nest doorbell camera to its Twitter account Monday. Wilson knocked and rang the bell several times before Milgrom seemingly woke up. The exchange is heard through the doorbell’s intercom.
“Paul? It’s Bob Wilson,” he said. “You’ve won the Nobel.”
“Wow,” Milgrom responded.
Milgrom’s wife, who is currently in Stockholm, got the notification on her phone when Wilson rang their doorbell and was able to see it live, the university said.
Milgrom and Wilson were both honored for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats, Secretary General Göran Hansson of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Monday.
Milgrom’s work included the analysis of bidding strategies to determine how the format of an auction can give the seller higher expected revenue as bidders gauge the private value others place on the item on sale.
Wilson’s work led to the theory of a common value, which is the best estimate of what an item is worth that bidders then try to set their offers below to avoid overpaying.