Aussie immunology legend consults Twitter for his local off-licence opening hours

Even Nobel Prize-winning boffins need to take the edge off sometimes

For a country of habitual boozers where alcohol sales have leapt recently, Brits won’t be surprised to hear that Australian immunologist and Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty was sitting at his computer yesterday when he felt the urge for a stiff drink.

The instinct isn’t foreign to many people as there remains no end in sight to pandemic-driven isolation. As The Guardian reports, folk the world over are trying to bring the pub home through a variety of internet-enabled means, from Facebook groups to Zoom servers.

Even Vulture Central, like many other great technology institutions, has stubbornly made its beloved Wednesday Club an online-only event – usually devolving into a blurry mess of party games like Human: Fall Flat or Left 4 Dead (which, by the way, we heartily recommend for afterwork team-building exercises).

Now, if Doherty – who alongside Rolf Martin Zinkernagel was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine for “discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence” – needs a drink, you know we’re in deep.

However, rather than his cursor hitting the address bar, this happened:

For those not initiated in the esoteric arts of antipodean partying, Dan Murphy’s is for Australia what Oddbins is for the UK.

Instead of Twitter – typically a savage, untamed place – pointing and laughing at the 79-year-old scientist like we did when then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls simply tweeted “Ed Balls”, the replies were thankfully wholesome.

OK, so it took an hour and 25 minutes compared to Google’s 0.70 seconds, but it worked. “Many thanks, just what I was trying to find out,” the boffin replied. “Why bother with Google, where I was meaning to be, when there’s so much help available via Twitter?”

The prof recovered from the gaffe with good humour, noting when one follower asked if Dan Murphy’s had anything to do with a “clinical trial”:

Indeed. Anyway, beers in comments for Professor Peter Doherty, whose work we’re sure is helping to make inroads against the coronavirus. ®

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