The Ig-Nobel Awards (or science goes tits up)

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by Wordsmith, Jan 26, 2011.

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  1. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    And slightly less seriously, this is a great website

    Improbable Research

    It's dedicated to the worst science that gets published - a counterpart to the Nobel awards. Kudos to a lot of the scientists for going along to accept the prize...

    Thus one of the 2010 winners:

    ENGINEERING PRIZE: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

    From 2009:

    PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

    And 2008:

    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.

    The list goes on....

    Wordsmith
     
  2. Brills, aren't they. I nominated this, yesterday, for the Economics prize.

    And it is not for the worst science. It is for science that makes you think once you've finished laughing your guts out.
     
  3. A fantastically funny group. I lived and worked in Cambridge (MA) for many years and attended a couple of the ceremonies held at MIT. The presenters of the awards are usually actual Nobel laureates. One year there was a surfeit of Nobel winners so one of them acted as a maintenance worker and would wander across the stage at random intervals pushing a broom. Due to the presence of Harvard and MIT there are a lot of Nobel's around. I believe that the current count is 29 Nobel laureates who live and/or work in Cambridge.

    I think originally the awards were for "research that either cannot be or should not be replicated"
     
  4. Indeed. I had a bit of problem when procuring a large teapot - when I got it back home, I discovered that it actually held 319 ml instead of the maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) resulting in incredibly weak tea due to the excess volume, and, although it said white on the box, it was actually very, very, very, very, very, very light grey. Never buy a teapot from a normal shop - they'll shaft you everytime.

    I can thoroughly recommend ISO/TC 34/SC 8/615 which gives the definition of Black Tea.

    It goes without saying that anything from Sub-Committee 8 is worthy of respect but Sub-Committee 15 is the dumping ground for those who find tying shoelaces a bit challenging.
     
  5. The person who I admire the most is Andre Geim (Uni of Manchester) who won an Ig Nobel prize in 2000 for "using magnets to levitate a frog".

    However in 2010 Geim won a real genuine kosher Nobel for work on a new form of carbon called Graphene

    He is the first individual to win both !