PRATIE PLACE

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Ig Nobel Awards

The Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded every hear at Harvard University. At the website you will find links to the magazine, the newsletter, and the books, as well as links to the winning research papers. Here are a few highlights from recent years:

2005

PHYSICS: John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland, Australia, for patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927...
In which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years.

MEDICINE: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri...
For inventing Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.

LITERATURE: The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria...
For creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.

2004

PUBLIC HEALTH: Jillian Clarke of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, and then Howard University...
For investigating the scientific validity of the Five-Second Rule about whether it's safe to eat food that's been dropped on the floor.

ENGINEERING: Donald J. Smith and his father, the late Frank J. Smith, of Orlando Florida, USA...
For patenting the combover (U.S. Patent #4,022,227).

BIOLOGY: Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia, Lawrence Dill of Simon Fraser University [Canada], Robert Batty of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Magnus Whalberg of the University of Aarhus [Denmark], and Hakan Westerberg of Sweden's National Board of Fisheries...
For showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting.

2003

PHYSICS: Jack Harvey, John Culvenor, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams of Australia...
For their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."

CHEMISTRY: Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University...
For his chemical investigation of a bronze statue, in the city of Kanazawa, that fails to attract pigeons.

LITERATURE: John Trinkaus, of the Zicklin School of Business, New York City...
For meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about things that annoyed him such as:
  • What percentage of young people wear baseball caps with the peak facing to the rear rather than to the front;
  • What percentage of pedestrians wear sport shoes that are white rather than some other color;
  • What percentage of swimmers swim laps in the shallow end of a pool rather than the deep end;
  • What percentage of automobile drivers almost, but not completely, come to a stop at one particular stop-sign;
  • What percentage of shoppers exceed the number of items permitted in a supermarket's express checkout lane;
  • What percentage of students dislike the taste of Brussels sprouts.

ECONOMICS: Karl Schwärzler and the nation of Liechtenstein...
For making it possible to rent the entire country for corporate conventions, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other gatherings.

INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: Stefano Ghirlanda, Liselotte Jansson, and Magnus Enquist of Stockholm University...
For their inevitable report "Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans."

BIOLOGY: C.W. Moeliker, of Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, the Netherlands...
For documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck.

2002

LITERATURE: Vicki L. Silvers of the University of Nevada-Reno and David S. Kreiner of Central Missouri State University...
For their colorful report "The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading Comprehension."


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2 Comments:

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I don't know, it seems like that Literature guy was on the right track.

 
At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Kimberly said...

Does the force required to drag a sheep over a given surface change when the sheep is shorn? Inquiring minds...

 

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