ITHACA, NY – 870 individuals have won Nobel prizes. You can “win” one too, and without all the hassle of making a scientific breakthrough, authoring a magnum opus, or fostering world peace — you just have to be willing to part with upwards of $450,000.

According to an Associated Press story, the Nobel Prize awarded to late Cornell-based physicist Kenneth Wilson in 1982 is up for auction by his estate. Wilson passed away in 2013 at age 77.

Wilson won the prize for his work on for his theory on the critical point behavior of matter undergoing a phase transition, as explained by a CoinWeek article. The example given is the way that a magnetic material loses its magnetism above a temperature known as the Curie point. His also explored quantum physics in his research.

The auction will occur on Thursday, May 26. The starting bid is $450,000. Interested parties can bid online through Nate D. Sanders Auctions.

Wilson’s will be the 19th Nobel Prize to be sold at auction in history. The last Nobel Prize to be sold this way fetched $765,002 in May 2015.

(Photo courtesy Nate D. Sanders Auctions.)

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.