10 Ig Nobel Prizes For 2012: Recognition Of Funny, Obscure Research


2012 Ig Nobel Award: image via ctpost.com2012 Ig Nobel Award: image via ctpost.comYou gotta love the Russian company SKN for converting old Russian ammunition into diamonds, and didn't you always want to know how many steps you'd have to take to create the inevitable splash of coffee on your carpet?  But the SpeechJammer in 2012?  A machine that delays speech and makes one stutter is decades old, and it actually has the practical application of helping stutterers speak without stuttering.

Here are the 10 winners of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes given to scientists, writers, and peacemakers who make silly but thoughtful contributions to the world, or as the Annals of Improbable Research puts it, "first make people laugh, and then make them think."  I can vouch for them making us laugh!


1.  The 2012 Ig nobel Psychology Prize

To Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan [THE NETHERLANDS] and Tulio Guadalupe [PERU, RUSSIA, and THE NETHERLANDS] for their study “Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller."  Need I embellish?


What happened to my hair!?: image via thehivela. blogspot.comWhat happened to my hair!?: image via thehivela. blogspot.com

2.  The 2012 Ig Nobel Peace Prize

To SKN Company in Russia for exploding old Russian ammunition and creating diamonds. Now that's recycling!


3. The 2012 Ig Nobel Accoustics Prize

To Japanese creators Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada for developing the SpeechJammer, a device that uses delayed auditory feedback to shut up participants in a discussion.  As I mentioned in the introduction, this kind of system has been used in speech therapy to reduce stuttering among those with that particular speech disturbance.


4.  The 2012 Ig Nobel Neuroscience Prize

To Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford for demonstrating that brain researchers, using a combination of complicated equipment and simple statistics, can find meaningful brain activity anywhere, even in a dead fish.


Why and when does coffee spill?: image via lifeslittlemysteries.comWhy and when does coffee spill?: image via lifeslittlemysteries.com

5.  The 2012 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize

Anderslöv, Sweden was plagued by residents with green hair. Johan Pettersson discovered that there was too much copper in their water.


6.  The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature

Believe it or not, this prize went to the US Government General Accountability Office (GAO) for issuing a report that recommended a report about another report of reports recommending reports... or something like that.


7. The 2012 Ig Nobel Physics Prize

You'd love to know the balance of forces that shape and move your ponytail, right?  That's why Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren and Robin Ball received this igNOMINIOUS prize!


8. The 2012 Ig Nobel Fluid Dynamics Prize

To Rouslan Krechetnikov and Hans Mayer for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee. I'll give you a hint: it happens between step 7 and 10.


9. The 2012 Ig Nobel Anatomy Prize

Recognize me?: image via blog.discoverymagazine.comRecognize me?: image via blog.discoverymagazine.com

To Frans de Waal [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] for discovering that chimpanzees can recognize other chimpanzees from seeing photographs of their rear ends.


10. The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine

Gastroenterologists throughout the world will no doubt thank Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti for recommending ways that they can minimize patient' gas explosions while the docs perform colonoscopies.


This is the 22nd year of the Ig Nobels, and they are more obscure and humorous every year.  Find our coverage of the recent past years' prize winners here.

sources:  Annals of Improbable Research, Scientific American, Life's Little Mysteries, SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback