Wednesday, April 22, 2015

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Stockholm, April 22 - The Royal Swedish Academy announced today that it would bestow the Nobel Prize in Physics on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to recognize his accomplishments in challenging existing notions of mathematical certainty by showing that a four-year presidential term actually lasts more than twice that duration.

Abbas was elected in January 2005 to a presidency that, according to Palestine National Authority law, lasts four years, after which another election is to be held. However, the president demonstrated that those four years must, in fact, have not elapsed, since he retains his office and title, and shows no indication of arranging for another round of presidential elections. The Academy described this achievement as, "challenging and expanding our understanding, and the boundaries, of number, of units of measure, and of time itself, with the potential to revolutionize every arena of human affairs."

Previously, the concept of "four years" was understood to refer to a finite, measurable period on Earth, with empirically observable characteristics, says Dick Tater, professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago. "But Dr. Abbas has changed all that. We used to think that observable time could only be distorted or redefined when great distances and velocities are involved, something Einstein proved. What Abbas has done is to throw into question all the commonly accepted notions of what 'four years' essentially means, ans in doing so, has opened up a world of possibility."

Potential applications for the discovery, says Tater, include everything from medicine to space travel to economics. "Imagine being able to give a dying cancer patient more time just be using Dr. Abbas's principles," he explained. "If four years really equals more than ten - and it might yet end up equaling considerably more; the window is yet open on that front - then a terminally ill person given four months to live actually has almost a year, and possibly more. Annual government budgets can actually cover at least two-and-a-half years, a prospect with immense potential for savings and public works. Really, the possibilities are endless."

A spokesman for the Palestinian president told reporters Abbas was humbled by the announcement, as well as gratified. "It can be daunting to try to fill the shoes of Yasser Arafat," said Yasser Abed-Rabbo, referring to the iconic Palestinian leader who preceded Abbas. "Arafat won a Nobel Prize for peacemaking, and that is a very tough act to follow. All of Palestine is proud of our president for demonstrating a similar commitment to the rigor and principles of the field in which our successive leaders have now been recognized."

Hints of the mathematical achievement were already apparent to some observers much earlier in Abbas's career. Academy representatives pointed out that his doctoral thesis, examining the Holocaust, involved important efforts to prove that the number six million actually referred to a significantly smaller quantity.

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