Ig Nobel Prizes 2011

The Ig Nobel prize, the alternative to the regular Nobel Price, has gained in stature so much that this year, seven out of the ten recipients attended the ceremony. And they pay their own expenses, too. A bit like the Oscar alternative, the Razzie.

It is only really fair that such dedicated research should be duly brought to public attention.

Physiology Prize: Anna Wilkinson, from the University of Lincoln, and colleagues for their study in the journal Current Zoology titled “No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise”.

Chemistry Prize: A team led from Shiga University, Japan, that determined the ideal density of airborne wasabi to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm. Patent pending.

Medicine Prize: Shared by two teams whose independent research jointly established that people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.

Psychology Prize: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, Norway, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.

Literature Prize: John Perry of Stanford University, US, for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.

Biology Prize: Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle. The pair have published two papers on the topic.

Physics Prize: Philippe Perrin and colleagues for determining why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don’t.

Peace Prize: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armoured tank.

Public Safety Prize: John Senders of the University of Toronto, Canada, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.

Mathematics Prize: Shared by a group of doom-mongers for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations –

Dorothy Martin of the US who predicted the world would end in 1954
Pat Robertson of the US who predicted the world would end in 1982
Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the US who predicted the world would end in 1990
Lee Jang Rim of Korea who predicted the world would end in 1992
Credonia Mwerinde of Uganda who predicted the world would end in 1999
Harold Camping of the US who predicted the world would end in 1994 and then later in 2011.

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