It’s early October again and for some that means the highlight of the scientific calendar have just happened and for others that some at Harvard have again celebrated the silliest science around the globe.
What we are talking about are the 18th Annual Ig Nobel Prize Awards that took place this Thursday at Sanders Theater, Harvard University and informal lectures by the prize winners this afternoon at the MIT Building.
The annual prizes are awarded for “research that first makes people laugh, and then make them think“
“…The 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony announced and introduced the ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners. The winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense, from several continents. The Prizes were handed to them by a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, all before a standing-room only audience of 1200 people…”
This year’s winners are (see links below for references at the AIR web site):
- NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.
- PEACE PRIZE. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.
- ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE. Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo.
- BIOLOGY PRIZE. Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert,, and Michel Franc of Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, France for discovering that the fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than the fleas that live on a cat.
- MEDICINE PRIZE. Dan Ariely of Duke University, USA, for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine.
- COGNITIVE SCIENCE PRIZE. Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido University, Japan, Hiroyasu Yamada of Nagoya, Japan, Ryo Kobayashi of Hiroshima University, Atsushi Tero of Presto JST, Akio Ishiguro of Tohoku University, and Ágotá Tóth of the University of Szeged, Hungary, for discovering that slime molds can solve puzzles.
- ECONOMICS PRIZE. Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that a professional lap dancer’s ovulatory cycle affects her tip earnings.
- PHYSICS PRIZE. Dorian Raymer of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and Douglas Smith of the University of California, San Diego, USA, for proving mathematically that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.
- CHEMISTRY PRIZE. Sharee A. Umpierre of the University of Puerto Rico, Joseph A. Hill of The Fertility Centers of New England (USA), Deborah J. Anderson of Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School (USA), for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong of Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang (all of Taiwan) for discovering that it is not.
- LITERATURE PRIZE. David Sims of Cass Business School. London, UK, for his lovingly written study “You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations.”
Congratulations to all winners and we hope you had lots of fun at this years ceremonies
Have a look at the AIG ceremony web cast / video of the ceremony (multiple translations into various languages plus body language are available simultaneously) to recognize all the various delegations honoring the prize winners.
- Europe: The EU’s “Nobel prize” for IT
- Quote of the day: Civic courage
- USD 20,000 Flash game development contest
- Humor: Alternative computer maintenance
I have just learned that one of the IT awards – or in good government gibberish “ICT” awards – I won for some of my inventions a few years ago is now called the “EU – Nobel prize – for ICT”. Maybe I should now move the plaque from the guest toilet where its displayed with the other awards to a more prominent place… “…The European ICT Prize, the EU’s “Nobel Prize” for innovation in information and communication technologies, is the most distinguished prize for innovative products and services in the field of ICT…” Well, to finish up the story, the money (grand prize winners now get EUR 200,000) went to my then company, which is now owned (at least some of the innovations) by an American conglomerate. So much about being successful in Europe when being innovative. Nevertheless the EU ICT prize is really a good thing and if…
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today.
The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations.
Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, famous Russian dissident writer, Nobel prize and Templeton Prize winner, Harvard University address (1979)
The popular gamer web site AddictingGames has opened a flash game development contest with over USD 20,000 in prize money, plus promotion of the winners on the AddictingGames site. All games submissions must be new games and you must own the rights. They have to be authored in Flash and must be under 3 megs [...]
A guide how to fix computer problems like viruses, expired software licenses or hardware failures with a pendulum or alternative medicine.
LoL – attention comedy!