Noble Causes, Nobel Prizes

October 7, 2007

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a mock of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in October for achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” Organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR Magazine) and presented by a group that includes genuine Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University. I just wanted to share some of the best winners with you. My favorite of course is the US Air Force’s brilliant plan to make a gay bomb. The Air Force is indeed funded by our tax money.

2007 Ig Nobel Winners

Medicine – Brain Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK, and Dan Meyer for their probing work on the health consequences of swallowing a sword.

Physics – A US-Chile team who ironed out the problem of how sheets become wrinkled.

Chemistry – Mayu Yamamoto, from Japan, for developing a method to extract vanilla fragrance and flavoring from cow dung.

Linguistics – A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards.

Peace – The US Air Force Wright Laboratory for instigating research and development on a chemical weapon that would provoke widespread homosexual behavior among enemy troops.

Nutrition – Brian Wansink of Cornell University for investigating the limits of human appetite by feeding volunteers a self-refilling, “bottomless” bowl of soup.

Economics – Kuo Cheng Hsieh of Taiwan for patenting a device that can catch bank robbers by dropping a net over them.

Aviation – A National University of Quilmes, Argentina, team for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters to recover from jet lag.