Ig Nobel Prizes have been handed out

Alfred Nobel

What would Alfred Nobel think of the Ig Nobel Prize? Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Every year, studies, innovations and inventions are all critiqued, and those most ridiculous get awarded something called the Ig Nobel Prize. The Ig Nobel Prize is a play on words. The term “ignoble” is the opposite of “noble,” and plays on the name Nobel, as in Alfred Nobel. The Ig Nobel Prize is awarded to winners in nine categories who are deemed to have done research that is useless or utterly ridiculous.

The Ig Nobel awards for this year

The Ig Nobel Prizes this year were well deserved. The prizes, from The Guardian, went to people who made some truly ridiculous discoveries. Here is a list of winners:

  • Medicine: Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest from the University of Amsterdam found that roller coasters can alleviate asthma symptoms.
  • Physics: Lianne Parkin, from the University of Otago, New Zealand, discovered that people slip less on ice if they wear socks over their shoes.
  • Biology: Gareth Jones, from Bristol University, found that fruit bats enjoy sex for purposes other than procreation.
  • Peace: Richard Stevens, of Keele University, found that pain is alleviated when people curse.
  • Engineering: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, along with collaborators from the Institute of Zoology in London, discovered how to collect whale mucus using remote control helicopters.
  • Transportation: Mark Fricker and Dan Bebber, along with help from other scientists, discovered how to model train systems using oatmeal and slime mold.
  • Management: Alessandro Pluchino, from the University of Catania, found companies can work in a more efficient manner if staff are promoted randomly.
  • Public Health: Manuel Barbeito, at the Maryland Industrial Health and Safety Office, found that beards can collect microbes.
  • Chemistry: Eric Adams, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with help from BP, found that oil and water, in fact, mix.
  • Economics: A joint award for the executives of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Magnetar and AIG for inventive investing.

What will they think of next

The website for the Ig Nobel prizes lists who showed up to collect their prizes. Just like Ig Nobel 2009, some Ig Nobel 2010 winners were absent. Conspicuously, the winners for Economics did not show up.


The Guardian

Ig Nobel Prizes

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