Scientists at Gillette have won this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics for their development of the Gillette Samurai, the world’s first seven-bladed razor.
“They said man couldn’t fly. We flew,” said project leader, Roger Bigsby. “They said we couldn’t travel faster than sound, but we smashed the sound barrier. They said duct tape couldn’t cure warts … OK, we’re still working on that one. And they said a razor with more than five blades was impossible. Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “You can now have cheeks that will set new standards for babies’ bottoms!”
As recently as two years ago the scientific community scoffed at the idea of a razor with more than five blades. Field experts like Dr. Alexei Dotsenko, a physicist at MIT, assumed Gillette had reached the practical limit of shaving technology with the five-bladed Gillette Fusion. “Are we shaving or fencing?” asked Dotsenko in 2006. “We physicists have a saying—if God meant for us to shave with such razors, he wouldn’t still have his beard.”
Even before Gillette released the five-bladed Fusion, Bigsby and his team explored the theoretical possibilities of six and perhaps even seven blades. Traditional multi-bladed razors lift the hair as they cut, enabling subsequent blades to shave closer, but sometimes sharpening the hairs instead of cutting them off and causing an irritating medical condition known as “Pinhead Syndrome.” For the Samurai, Bigsby envisioned blades which became progressively sharper. The sixth blade, made of finely cut diamond, is sharp enough to cut through time itself, allowing the seventh blade to shave whiskers growing twelve hours in the future, eliminating five-o-clock shadow. “This was the real driving force behind Albert Einstein’s work on the Theory of Relativity,” said Bigsby. “His mistress hated stubble, not to mention that silly mustache.”
Bigsby dedicated the award to the brave scientists who tested the blades. Setbacks were many—five men lost ears, one cut off his nose and two were driven mad by constant nightmares of working in a delicatessen.
Finishing second to the Gillette team was the European Organization for Nuclear Research and their work on the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator. A close third was Scotty McFarlane, a Brooklyn teenager, for his iPhone 3G app “X-Ray Vision” that allows users to take pictures of women and make their clothes disappear.