The Ig® Nobel Prizes!


Do you know about Ig Nobel Prizes? They are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October (around the time the recipients of the genuine Nobel Prizes are announced) for the ridiculous-most achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” 😉

Organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes genuine Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater.

How ridiculous the “achievements” are? Here goes the list of the Ig Nobel ‘winners’ of 2007.

  • Aviation: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra!! 😯
  • Biology: Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk, for taking a census of all the mites and other life forms that live in people’s beds.
  • Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto for extracting vanilla flavour from cow dung. Yak!! 😛 Vanilla milkshake anyone? :mrgreen:
  • Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, for patenting a device to catch bank robbers by ensnaring them in a net. Duh!
  • Linguistics: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can’t distinguish between Japanese, played backward, and Dutch, played backward. (How did they came up with the idea in first place? ❓ )
  • Literature: Glenda Browne, for her study of the word “the”. Now, that’s what I call “THE” Research! 😀
  • Medicine: Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, for investigating the side-effects of swallowing swords.
    Nutrition: Brian Wansink, for investigating people’s appetite for mindless eating by secretly feeding them a self-refilling bowl of soup. Eh? 😕
  • Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a “gay bomb,” which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attracted to each other. (Dropping that in India might solve the population problem)
  • Physics: L. Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca for their theoretical study of how sheets become wrinkled.

So where the name (Ig Nobel) came from? The official pronunciation used during the ceremony is “ig no-BELL”.

In Swedish, IG is short for “icke godkänt”, a grade in school similar to F, or fail.

In Russian, the name is usually translated as “Шнобелевская премия” (Shnobel Prize). Shnobel is a slang term for a large nose, evoking an image of Pinocchio.