Building Blogs of Science

The Ig Nobel Prizes: And the winner is…

Posted in Science by kubke on October 2, 2009

What do you get if you put together the audience of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and a science achievements awards ceremony? The Ig Nobel Prizes!

The 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held today in Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to their website the

“Ig Nobel prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.”

This year’s winners were as hilarious as usual. My favourite winners this year were:

Veterninary Medicine, “cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless”; Biology: “kitchen refuse can be reduced by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas” (apparently the fact that the panda poo is not stinky was a key factor in the experiment),  Peace: “determining by experiment whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty one”; and my favourite was the Ig Nobel prize for Physics for work examining “Why pregnant woman don’t tip over”.

Of course this is an official ceremony, and included the presence of several past Ig Nobel Prize winners as well as ‘actual’ Nobel Prize Winners: Richard J Roberts (1993 Physiology and Medicine), Wolfgang Ketterle (2001 Physics), Dudley R. Herschbach (1986 Chemsitry), Roy Glauber (2005 Physics), Frank Wiczek (2004 Physics); Martin Chalfie (2008 Chemistry), Paul Krugman (2008 Economics), Orhan Pamuk (2006 Literature) and William N Lipscomb (1976 Chemistry). This year’s keynote speech was delivered by Benoît B Mandelbrot inventor of mathematical concept of fractal.

If you have never visited their webpage and are up for a chuckle, you will be able to find the links to studies that have shown things like “Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide”, and “High priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine”.

Past winners are listed here, and the names and list of the current winners should appear soon.

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