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I mentioned in October that ulcer researchers Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won this year's Nobel Prize in medicine for their research showing that Helicobacter was a cause of gastric ulcers. However, Marshall and Warren weren't the first to come up with that idea; indeed, there were earlier reports suggesting a connection. Antecdotal evidence from several hospitals suggested that ulcer sufferers improved when prescribed antibiotics, and a curved bacterium had even been seen in the stomachs of Boston ulcer patients back in the 1940s. Reports of this bacterium date back to even earlier in the century, but none were conclusively followed up. Indeed, the doctor who made the observation in Boston, A. Stone Freedberg, was discouraged from pursuing that line of research. Now, a half-century later, he will award the Nobel prize to the researchers who were able to do what he could not: grow Helicobacter pylori, and show that it was a cause of gastric ulcers. Today's New York Times discusses more of the story, a tale not only of "what ifs" but also of the role chance plays in science--even science good enough to win a Nobel.