Friday, October 5, 2007
The winners of the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize have been announced. The awards, given out every early October since 1991 by the Annals of Improbable Research, are a parody of the Nobel Prize, which are awards given out in several fields. The awards are given to achievements that, “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” They were presented at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater.
Ten awards have been presented, each given to a different field. The winners are:
- Medicine: Brian Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK, and Dan Meyer, who studied the health consequences of sword swallowing.
- Physics: A team from the USA and Chile, who made a study about how cloth sheets become wrinkled.
- Biology: Dr Johanna van Bronswijk of the Netherlands, for carrying out a census of creatures that live in people’s beds.
- Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto, from Japan, for creating a method of extracting vanilla fragrance and flavouring from cow dung.
- Linguistics: A team from the University of Barcelona, who discovered that rats cannot tell the difference between Japanese and Dutch when spoken backwards.
- Literature: Glenda Browne of Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study on how the word “The” confuses people when they try to put things in alphabetical order.
- Peace: The US Air Force Wright Laboratory for trying to develop a “Gay bomb” that would turn enemy soldiers homosexual.
- Nutrition: Brian Wansink of Cornell University for his investigation into the limits of the human appetite, by using a self-refilling “bottomless” bowl of soup.
- Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh of Taiwan, for patenting a machine that catches bank robbers by dropping a net on top of them.
- Aviation: A team from the National University of Quilmes, Argentina, for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters recover from jet lag.