Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to part-time PC World assistant

breakthrough discovery of 'degree of competence' could change life as we know it

A sixteen-year-old part-time assistant at PC World is the surprise winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. Joe Ward from Northampton was awarded the prize in recognition, say the Nobel Committee, ‘of his outstanding contribution to physics and computer science by correctly advising Mrs Ethel Knight, 62, of Northampton, on how to attach a mouse to a computer USB port’.

Mr Ward, who works at his local PC World at weekends, said he was ‘gob smacked’ on receiving the letter informing him of his success. ‘It was awesome,’ he told journalists. ‘I knew I’d done something pretty cool, but I didn’t think I had a chance of a Nobel Prize. But, looking back, I suppose it was pretty groundbreaking for a PC World guy to give out correct technical information.’

Mrs Knight said she was delighted. ‘That young man deserves the honour,’ she said. ‘I was a bit dubious when he showed me how to attach the mouse to the computer and, to be quite honest, I didn’t think it would work. But it just shows how wrong you can be. In my opinion, Joe is a genius.’

The store said that since the announcement, it had been inundated with messages from around the world. The manager said: ‘Yesterday Bill Gates called to ask Joe for advice on a problem with Windows 7, then we had Sir Tim Berners-Lee ringing asking for guidance. People have been queuing round the block to ask Joe for advice.

‘Of course, it’s partly down to the thorough training we give all our employees at PC World. We once had a young assistant who showed a customer how to detach a mouse from a computer AND where to find the track pad. Brilliant.’ Mrs Knight said when she arrived home with the mouse she went straight to her computer: ‘I couldn’t actually find anywhere to plug the mouse into my Amstrad, but my grandson has a computer with a hole for mice – and it went in there like a treat. He’s a clever one, that Joseph Ward. A bit of an Einstein, I’d say.’

19th December 2009

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