Winners for the Best in Wacky Science Research Get Ig Nobel Award

The 17th Annual Ig Nobel Awards, which recognize bizarre and obscure research and inventions, were recently hosted at Harvard University. Of the 10 winners, seven attended the ceremony to accept the awards, which were handed out by six real Nobel Prize laureates.

The TrophyThe TrophyThe "Igs" are chosen by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine to highlight scientific achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think," explained editor Marc Abrahams.

This year, winners received small trophies with a chicken and an egg, while being pelted with paper airplanes on stage. When Abrahams was asked by the AP why chickens, he looked astonished and said, "How could you not?"

Winners were allowed to try to explain their research in 60 seconds, but if they took too long, they were interrupted by an eight-year-old girl saying, "Please stop, I'm bored."

Other highlights of the ceremony included goofy "Moments of Science" and a contest to win a date with a Nobel laureate.

 IG Nobel Prize CeremonyIG Nobel Prize Ceremony

Winners of the 17th Annual Ig Nobel Awards:

* Aviation: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra.

* Biology: Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk, for taking a census of all the mites and other life forms that live in people's beds.

* Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto for extracting vanilla flavor from cow dung.

* Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, for patenting a device to catch bank robbers by ensnaring them in a net.

* Linguistics: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can't distinguish between Japanese, played backward, and Dutch, played backward.

* Literature: Glenda Browne, for her study of the word "the".

* Medicine: Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, for investigating the side-effects of swallowing swords.

* Nutrition: Brian Wansink, for investigating people's appetites by secretly feeding them a self-refilling bowl of soup.

* Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for research and development of a "gay bomb," which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attractive to each other.

* Physics: L. Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca for their theoretical study of how sheets become wrinkled.

(Sources : and Wikipedia)

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger