1 Tahrcountry Musings: This Year's Ig Nobels – a Rip-roaring, Rib Tickling Lighter Look at Science

Sunday, October 03, 2010

This Year's Ig Nobels – a Rip-roaring, Rib Tickling Lighter Look at Science

Here is something on the lighter side for Sunday. My friend Jeffrey from England has mailed me info about this year’s Ig Nobels winners.

For those of you who have no clue about Ig Nobels, it is an event organized by the humor journal Annals of Improbable Research to promote the public appreciation of science. It is a reward for scientists who take a lighter look at science making the people laugh, and then make them think. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Here is the roundup of this year’s winners.

Engineering: Marine biologist Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse of the Zoological Society of London and colleagues. They get the award for their method of collecting samples of whale snot using a remote-controlled helicopter.
Medicine: Psychologist Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and colleagues. They get the award for discovering that asthma symptoms can be successfully treated with roller-coaster rides.
Physics: Public health researcher Lianne Parkin of the University of Otago in New Zealand and colleagues. The get it for proving that wearing socks on the outside of shoes reduces slips on icy surfaces.
Peace: Psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in the United Kingdom and colleagues. The grab the prize for demonstrating that swearing alleviates pain.
Public health: Microbiologist Manuel Barbeito of the Industrial Health and Safety Office at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and colleagues for determining that microbes flourish in the beards of scientists.
Economics: The executives of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar "for creating and promoting new ways to invest money--ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.
Chemistry: Engineer Eric Adams of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and colleagues. They get it for disproving the belief that oil and water don't mix.
Management: Social scientist Alessandro Pluchino of the University of Catania in Italy and colleagues for mathematically demonstrating that organizations can increase efficiency by giving people promotions at random.
Biology: Biologist Libiao Zhang of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and colleagues for their study of fellatio in fruit bats. 

Real Nobel winners receive around $1.4 million dollars, but not Ig Nobels winners. This year's ceremony was an exception. It included a cash prize: A $100 trillion note from Zimbabwe the value of which is around 0 as a result of hyperinflation.

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