Story by Sheena Rice
Photo by Sam O’Keefe

What do you get for someone who recently won the world’s most prestigious award?

When the Nobel Laureate in question is George P. Smith, Curators Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences who rides a bike to campus, the answer is easy—a personal bike rack.

On October 18, 2018 University of Missouri officials unveiled a bike rack slot dedicated to Smith to honor his achievement—the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he shared with two other scientists.

“I live less than a mile from campus,” Smith said. “When you live so close it just doesn’t make sense to not bike or walk to campus. It’s fun that Mizzou found a way to promote alternative forms of transportation.”

George P. Smith on bicycle

Smith is the first Mizzou professor to receive a Nobel Prize. His achievement — dubbed “harnessing the power of evolution” by Nobel officials —also represents the first Nobel Prize awarded within the University of Missouri System. His research has led to the production of new antibodies used to cure metastatic cancer and counteract autoimmune diseases, among other things.

“Nobel Prize winners at universities have typically been honored with personal parking spaces,” said Chancellor Alexander Cartwright. “We wanted to do something more fitting and personal for Dr. Smith. Given that he rides his bike to campus, a personal biking spot seemed like the appropriate way to honor him.”

Smith doesn't plan on being greedy with his space.

"If you want to park your bike in the space, please do," Smith said. "If you get a ticket, come see me. I'll take care of it."

Click on the images below to see more photos from the dedication event: