Ig Nobel Awards

rynner said:
...and the aviation prize to Patricia Agostino, Santiago Plano and Diego Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.

This throws up so many questions. Are there a lot of hamsters suffering jetlag? How can you tell? Why feed them Viagra?

I have visions of hamsters flying planes long distance now. And paying the price for it.
here we go again!

Solved: scientific riddles of flea hops, armadillo digs and lap dancers' tips
Britons gain plaudits at irreverent highlight of academic calendar

Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian, Friday October 3 2008 Article history

The pride of the nation is secured. Last night, two Britons joined a long and prestigious list of Ig Nobel prizewinners at the annual awards ceremony at Harvard University.

The Ig Nobel for Literature was awarded for research into the different breeds of unpleasant character one might encounter in the workplace, while the Ig award for Nutrition went to scientists at Oxford University who proved stale crisps taste better when eaten to an accompaniment of crunchy sounds.

The Igs have become an irreverent highlight of the academic calendar, an annual exercise to celebrate research that makes people laugh first and think later. They are timed to coincide with the rather more lucrative and legitimate Nobels, which are awarded in Stockholm next week.

The ceremony is hosted by the tongue-in-cheek journal, Annals of Improbable Research, and is attended by real Nobel prizewinners and a 1,000-strong audience. This year's recipients were given 60 seconds to deliver their acceptance speech, a time limit enforced by an eight-year-old girl.

David Sims of the Cass Business School in London, whose paper You Bastard: A narrative exploration of the experience of indignation within organisations, won the literature prize, said: "I'm delighted. The whole ethos of the Ig Nobels is a wonderful way to make people think." The paper examines how people construct roles as clever bastards, devious bastards or bastard ex machina, and goes on to examine the mixture of joy and guilt of labelling someone as such.

Sims wrote the paper after puzzling how right-thinking people who often stressed the importance of appreciating others' arguments would give up and brand someone a bastard. "We are all novelists writing the next chapter of our life story and with bastards, we need to understand what kind of character they are trying to create," Sims said.

Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, was awarded the Ig for nutrition for his investigation into the gastronomical role of sound. In the study, volunteers ate crisps of varying freshness while wearing headphones.

As they ate, the sound of the crisp breaking was modified by a computer and played back to see if it changed their perception of the crisp's freshness. By making the crunch sounds louder, or by boosting the high frequencies, Spence made people rate the crisps 15% fresher.

The work led to a collaboration with Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, who played diners the sound of crashing waves to improve the flavour of oysters, and sizzling bacon to enhance his egg and bacon ice cream. "I'm very happy to be receiving the award," said Spence, who is now testing why crisps come in such noisy packets.

The Ig Nobel prize for medicine was awarded to Dan Ariely at Duke University in North Carolina for a landmark study proving that costly placebos are more effective than cheap ones. Ariely's team told volunteers they were being given a new kind of painkiller, with some receiving an expensive one and others a much cheaper version.

Even though all of them received the same sugar pills, those who thought their pills were more expensive reported less pain when they were given small electric shocks.

"This is the proudest day of my life," said Arierly. "The Ig Nobels are humorous, but the work often examines things in real life, like why buttered toast is more likely to land face down."

Arierly said his work has serious implications for the medical industry, because many patients are told they can only have cheaper drugs, or have inexpensive-looking medication, which could undermine how effective the drugs are. While the active ingredients of the drug will help treat symptoms, often they work in tandem with the placebo effect, which triggers the body's own healing mechanisms.

Among other winners were the people of Switzerland who claimed the Ig Peace prize for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity; Geoffrey Miller at the University of New Mexico who won the economics prize for showing lap dancers received more in tips when they were ovulating; and scientists in San Diego who showed that hair, string and almost anything else will become tangled given the chance, earning them the Ig award for physics.

Not all of the winners understood why their work had made people laugh. Marie-Christine Cadiergues, who won the prize for biology by proving the fleas on dogs jump higher than those on cats, said: "Despite appearing funny and maybe crazy and useless to some people, this was part of a larger work on the biology of fleas ... A better knowledge of flea biology can provide a better control and therefore help vets, pet owners and overall our favourite pets."

Toshiyuki Nakagaki at Hokkaido University in Japan was similarly nonplussed about receiving the Ig award for cognitive neuroscience, after showing that slime mould could navigate a simple maze. "I was wondering which aspect of our research attracted the Ig Nobel prize. How does the prize evaluate our research? We are always serious and don't know why they laugh once before thinking," Nakagaki said.

The real Nobel prizes are awarded next week, beginning with medicine on Monday.

And the winners are ...

Won by Dorian Raymer at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California, for discovering why ropes, hair and cables get more knotted the longer they are. :roll:


Jointly awarded to Sharee Umpierre at the University of Puerto Rico for discovering Coke is a spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong at Taipei Medical University for showing that it is not. :D


Marie-Christine Cadiergues at the National Veterinary School in Toulouse for discovering that fleas jump higher on dogs than on cats.


Dan Ariely at Duke University for demonstrating that expensive placebos are better painkillers than cheaper ones.


Geoffrey Miller at the University of New Mexico for discovering that lap dancers get larger tips when they are ovulating.


Astolfo Mello Araujo at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil for measuring how the contents of an archaeological dig can be disrupted by the actions of an armadillo.

Cognitive neuroscience

Toshiyuki Nakagaki, at Hokkaido University in Japan, for discovering that amoeboid organisms can solve puzzles.


David Sims at Cass Business School, London, for discovering why there are bastards in the workplace.


Charles Spence at Oxford University for making crisps taste better by modifying the sound of their crunch.


The Swiss federal ethics committee on non-human biotechnology and the citizens of Switzerland for acknowedging the dignity of plant life.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/ ... bel.awards
rynner said:

Jointly awarded to Sharee Umpierre at the University of Puerto Rico for discovering Coke is a spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong at Taipei Medical University for showing that it is not. :D

I read in a book about Coca-Cola a few years back that it was indeed a spermicide, so this might be going over old research.


Dan Ariely at Duke University for demonstrating that expensive placebos are better painkillers than cheaper ones.

That's quite interesting, actually. Very Fortean.
Here we go again! :D

Gas mask bra traps Ig Nobel prize
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Designers of a bra that turns into gas masks and a team who found that named cows produce more milk were among the winners of the 2009 Ig Nobel prizes.

The aim of the awards is to honour achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think".

The peace prize went to a Swiss research team who determined whether it is better to be hit over the head with a full or empty bottle of beer.

The ceremony was organised by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson from the agriculture, food and rural development department of Newcastle University were the only UK recipients.

Dr Douglas, who was unable to attend the ceremony held at Harvard University in Cambridge, US, told BBC News that she was "thrilled" to have been selected and was a "big fan of the Ig Nobel awards".

She said that discovering cows with names were more prolific milk-producers emerged during research into improving dairy cow welfare.

The overall aim of the study was to reduce stress and fear by improving "the human-animal relationship".

"[This research] showed that the majority of UK dairy farmers are caring individuals who respect and love their herd," she said.

Dr Douglas dedicated the award to Purslane, Wendy and Tina - "the nicest cows I have ever known". :D

The Ig Nobel Prizes were presented to the winners by genuine Nobel laureates.

Dr Elena Bodnar won the public health prize for the bra that, in an emergency, can be converted into two gas masks.

She demonstrated her invention and gave one to each of the Nobel laureates as a gift.

Professor Martin Chalfie, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2008, was this year's prize in the "win a date with a Nobel laureate" contest.

Past winners also returned to take part in the celebrations. They included Kees Moeliker, the discoverer of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, and Dr Francis Fesmire, who devised the digital rectal massage as cure for intractable hiccups.

Each new winner was permitted a maximum of 60 seconds to deliver an acceptance speech. The time limit was enforced by an intractable eight-year-old girl.

The evening also featured numerous tributes to the evening's theme of "Risk".

A 15-minute risk cabaret concert by the Penny-Wise Guys preceded the ceremony, during which the band paid special tribute to fraudster Bernie Madoff.

Appropriately, the prize for economics went to the executives of four Icelandic banks.

The governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank received the prize for mathematics for printing bank notes with such a wide range of denominations.

The full list of winners:

Veterinary medicine: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK, for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

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

Biology: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas.

Medicine: Donald L Unger of Thousand Oaks, California, US, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand but not his right hand every day for more than 60 years.

Economics: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa (and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy).

Physics: Katherine K Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, Daniel E Lieberman of Harvard University and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, all in the US, for analytically determining why pregnant women do not tip over.

Chemistry: Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M Castano of Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, for creating diamonds from tequila.

Literature: Ireland's police service for writing and presenting more than 50 traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country - Prawo Jazdy - whose name in Polish means "Driving Licence".

Public Health: Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, US, for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks - one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander.

Mathematics: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers by having his bank print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.

Phantom Pole haunts Garda at alternative Nobel awards
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 82259.html


THEY’LL BE clearing space in the trophy cabinet at the Phoenix Park headquarters this weekend after An Garda Síochána gained dubious international recognition by winning an award at the annual Ig Nobel ceremony in the US.

The force was honoured in the literature category for the 50 driving tickets that were issued last year to a Mr Prawo Jazdy – the Polish for “driving licence”.

Held at Harvard University on Thursday, the “alternative Nobels” are awarded for “achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think”, according to the Annals of Improbable Research , a satirical science magazine that organises the event.

Prizes were also presented for a bra that can be turned into a gas mask for two people, research into the effects of an empty beer bottle versus a full beer bottle on the human head and proof that cows with names give more milk than their nameless counterparts.

Many of the winners attended the ceremony, where they received their awards from a real Nobel laureate, but the Garda’s prize was accepted by Karolina Lewestam, “a Polish citizen and holder of a Polish driver’s licence”, organisers said.

She “expressed her good wishes to the Irish police service”.

The Irish Times reported earlier this year that an individual named “Prawo Jazdy” had clocked up more than 50 entries for road traffic offences in the Garda’s Pulse system.

When a traffic division officer investigated, he found “Prawo Jazdy” was Polish for “driving licence”, requiring the force to change its computer system and send notices to Garda stations alerting them to the error.

“Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence,” the officer wrote in a memo.

“Having noticed this I decided to check on Pulse and see how many members have made this mistake. It is quiet [sic] embarrassing to see that the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities.”

Prizes were awarded in 10 categories on Thursday night. The public health prize went to Elena Bodnar of Hinsdale, Illinois, and colleagues who designed and patented a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks – one for the wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.

Pathologist Stephan Bolliger and colleagues at the University of Bern in Switzerland won in the peace category for a research project to determine whether an empty beer bottle does more or less damage to the human skull than a full one in a bar fight.

The physics prize went to three US-based academics for analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over.

Donald Unger, a doctor in California, was honoured for a lifelong experiment in which he cracked the knuckles of his left hand but never his right for more than 60 years to prove that cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis.

The economics prize was shared by the directors, executives and auditors of four Icelandic banks, for showing that “tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks and vice versa – and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy”.

When contacted about the literature prize yesterday, a Garda spokesman said: “We’re aware of it, but we’re not in a position to comment.”
Ig Nobel for 'whale breathalyser'
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

A London-based scientist's use of a remote-control helicopter to get breath samples from whales has led to her being awarded an "Ig Nobel" Prize.

Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse's technique is used to collect gases and mucus exhaled by the giant mammals.

The tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel awards for "improbable research" have become almost as famous as the real Nobels.

Other research lauded at the Igs ceremony included proof that germs tend to cling to bearded scientists.

Other slightly wacky science celebrated at the US ceremony included research that proved the symptoms of asthma could be treated by riding on a roller-coaster and wearing socks outside your shoes could reduce your chances of slipping on an ice path.

Dr Acevedo-Whitehouse, of the Zoological Society of London, was present at the Sanders Theater at Harvard University, US, to receive her award. Colleagues Agnes Rocha-Gosselin and Diane Gendron were also there.

Not to put it too finely, the trio collect "whale snot". They hang petri dishes under a mini-chopper and fly the vehicle over a surfacing whale just as it evacuates its blow-hole.

The exhaled gases and mucus blast the dishes which are then taken back to the lab to study the disease-causing micro-organisms carried by the animals.

The remarkable method of obtaining the samples was featured in the BBC series Oceans. You can see how it is done by watching the video at the top of this page.

Dr Acevedo-Whitehouse told BBC News she was delighted to receive the spoof honour: "I was slightly bemused at first, to be honest, but I think that it is important to recognize (and communicate) that science can be fun. My colleagues and I are actually quite proud to receive this award now. Beyond the actual results (which are actually very interesting) we certainly have had fun doing our whale-snot research!"

This was the 21st Ig Nobel ceremony. The awards are run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research. They are supposed to "first make people laugh, and then make them think".

All the research, bar some special prizes, is real and published in bona fide academic journals. As part of the fun, the prizes are also handed over by genuine Nobel Laureates.

As usual, UK-based scientists featured heavily among the winning teams.

"Usually when you are an eccentric, you get punished. But in Britain, if you are an eccentric, you're kind of celebrated," awards organiser Marc Abrahams told BBC News.

The full list of winners:

Engineering Prize: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse (UK) and colleagues for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

Medicine Prize: Simon Rietveld (Netherlands) and colleagues for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller-coaster ride. :shock:

Transportation Planning Prize: Toshiyuki Nakagaki (Japan) and colleagues for using slime mould to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks. :?

Physics Prize: Lianne Parkin (New Zealand) and colleagues for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

Peace Prize: Richard Stephens (UK) and colleagues for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain. :D

Public health Prize: Manuel Barbeito (US) and colleagues for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists. 8)

Economics Prize: Awarded to the executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof. :roll:

Chemistry Prize: Eric Adams (US) and colleagues for disproving the old belief that oil and water don't mix. The research, supported by BP, was published under the title: "Review of Deep Oil Spill Modeling Activity Supported by the Deep Spill JIP and Offshore Operator's Committee". 8)

Management Prize: Alessandro Pluchino (Italy) and colleagues for demonstrating mathematically that organisations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. :shock:

Biology Prize: Libiao Zhang (China) and colleagues for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats. :oops:

rynner2 said:
Physics Prize: Lianne Parkin (New Zealand) and colleagues for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

How does that work then? You can slide on an uncarpeted floor in your socks, but not in your shoes, so why would ice be different? Or is it a long and complicated answer?

Peace Prize: Richard Stephens (UK) and colleagues for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain. :D

I'll have to remember that next time I slip on the ice.

Biology Prize: Libiao Zhang (China) and colleagues for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats. :oops:

Now I'm worried it happens in vampire bats as well...
Management Prize: Alessandro Pluchino (Italy) and colleagues for demonstrating mathematically that organisations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. Shocked

I'm not quite sure how to take this as it's based on several assumptions i disagree with, but here's more info on it:

Why Incompetence Spreads through Big Organizations

Promoting the people most competent at one job does not mean that they'll be better at another, according to a new simulation of hierarchical organizations.

There's a paradox at the heart of most Western organizations. The people who perform best at one level of an organization tend to be promoted on the premise that they will also be competent at another level within the organization. I imagine that most readers will have had personal experience at the way that this hypothesis fails in practice.

In 1969, a Canadian psychologist named Laurence Peter encapsulated this behavior in a rule that has since become known as Peter's Principle. Here it is:

"All new members in a hierarchical organization climb the hierarchy until they reach their level of maximum incompetence."

That's not as unfair as it sounds, say Alessandro Pluchino and buddies from Universita di Catania, who have modeled this behavior using an agent-based system for the first time. They say that common sense tells us that a member who is competent at a given level will also be competent at a higher level of the hierarchy. So it may well seem a good idea to promote such an individual to the next level.

The problem is that common sense often fools us. It's not so hard to see that a new position in an organization requires different skills, so the competent performance of one task may not correlate well with the ability to perform another task well.

Peter pointed out that in large organizations where these practices are used, it is inevitable that individuals will be promoted until they reach their level of maximum incompetence. The unavoidable result is the runaway spread of incompetence throughout an organization.

Now Pluchino and co have simulated this practice with an agent-based model for the first time. Sure enough, they find that it leads to a significant reduction in the efficiency of an organization, as incompetency spreads through it. That must have an uncomfortable ring of truth for some CEOs.

But is there a better way of choosing individuals for promotion? It turns out that there is, say Pluchino and co. Their model shows that two other strategies outperform the conventional method of promotion.

The first is to alternately promote first the most competent and then the least competent individuals. And the second is to promote individuals at random. Both of these methods improve, or at least do not diminish, the efficiency of an organization.

Interesting idea that would be fascinating to see in action. What would be a suitable prize for the first CEO to implement such a policy?

Ig Nobel awards: the triumph of silly science
Next week, the Ig Nobel awards recognise the most weirdest science around, says Victoria Lambert.
By Victoria Lambert
7:30AM BST 20 Sep 2011

Showered with paper aeroplanes, garlanded by admiring Nobel laureates, some of the world's quirkiest scientists will be honoured at a sell-out ceremony at Harvard University next week.

The 21st annual Ig Nobel Prizes, conferred by Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), have become one of the most coveted prizes in science. Bringing neither personal riches nor offers of future funding, the Ig Nobels do bestow a heavy dollop of cool on their winners who, collectively, seem to put the fizz in physics and the giggles in gigabytes.

Recent winners include a UK-Mexico collaboration, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-controlled helicopter; Dutch duo Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest for discovering that some forms of asthma can be treated with a roller-coaster ride; and a team from Otago University, New Zealand, for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in winter, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

British scientists traditionally fare well at the Ig Nobels (there are 10 categories covering similar disciplines to the Nobels, from chemistry and economics to peace, but also including public health, engineering, biology, and interdisciplinary research). In 2009, Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University won for revealing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless. Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, triumphed in 2006, for inventing an electro-mechanical teenager repellent (a device that makes annoying high-pitched noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults). And in 2005, an award went to Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University (again) for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust that was being shown selected highlights of Star Wars. :shock:

If it all sounds like a lot of geeks getting together to let their long hair down, whip off their white coats and, over a glass of champagne, sort out some sticky issues (like Edward Cussler and Brian Gettelfinger, University of Minnesota, winners for the experiment: can people swim faster in syrup or in water?), you wouldn't be far wrong.

Organiser and inventor Marc Abrahams explains his motivation: "I became the editor of a science magazine (The Journal of Irreproducible Results), and suddenly was meeting lots of people who had done wonderfully loopy things – but it was clear that most of them would never earn any sort of recognition for what they'd done. So I decided to help out a bit. Thus was born the first Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, in 1991."

That first year saw Jacques Benveniste, controversial French immunologist, honoured for his demonstrating (to his own satisfaction, if no one else's) that water is able to "remember" events long after all trace of those events has otherwise vanished.

As the awards have grown, it is clear that what they do (more than honouring semi-obscure theoreticians) is to celebrate the humour intrinsic in much of science and many of its practitioners. Abrahams recognises this connection: "What scientists do is, by its nature, frustrating. They are trying to understand things that no one else has managed to understand. Much of the time they will fail at this, but occasionally they will succeed, and maybe change the world. If you know that your job inevitably involves living through lots of failures, it helps to have a sense of humour about yourself.

"When a scientist makes a really good, unexpected discovery, everyone else's first reaction is going to be laughter: how can this discovery be true? And then they see that yes, it's true, and pretty soon everyone thinks it's ordinary. It's much better that people laugh at a new discovery, and think about it, than attack it from the off."

This, perhaps, is the true charm of the awards: they make the public smile – and then think. Simon Singh, the author known for making scientific topics accessible to a wide audience (his latest book is Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial), says: "I like the Ig Nobels. They are generally a good thing, linking wacky and straight science."

He does warn that some people misinterpret the awards, because occasionally they drift into irony – such as the 2010 economics prize, to "the executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money – ways that maximise financial gain and minimise financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof".

In 2004, the Vatican was a winner "for outsourcing prayers to India". No wonder it is difficult to tell whether the 2008 prize is laughing at, or with, the University of New Mexico team for discovering that professional lap dancers earn higher tips when they are ovulating.

"It can be a bit confusing. At one end, they cover serious, if wackily presented science, and at the other, they can be mocking. So some people think they don't just recognise silly but bad science. However, if I was awarded one, I'd be honoured," says Singh.

Dr Richard Stephens, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Keele University, made the podium last year for proving that swearing relieves pain. "They do pre-warn you so you can decide whether to go or not," says Dr Stephens. "I'd heard of the Ig Nobels and thought it was cool. My wife and daughter came, too."

In fact, his wife and daughter partly inspired the research, which was co-authored by some of his undergraduates. "Partly I was inspired by DIY mishaps, but I was also interested in why women swear in childbirth, as my wife did. I remember the midwife telling me it was normal. My work found that swearing is the language we use in times of strong emotions and pain."

He thinks the Ig Nobels encourage students. "If they portray science in a humorous way, that can only be a good thing.
"It hasn't led to new collaborations or extra funding. But it's seen as a bit cool among your peers," he says.

Dr Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol (winner, 2010, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats) is also grateful. "Yes, I'm proud of my Ig Nobel. Humour is a valuable way of popularising science."
And he points out: "Many of the prizes are awarded for serious science. My own work on fellatio in fruit bats led to feedback from members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about female mate-choice strategies, and whether animals experience the equivalence of 'pleasure' in humans.

"Andre Geim from Manchester, who won the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, went on to win the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research on graphene."

Marc Abrahams confesses his favourites in the past have been British. "Very British, in fact. The study, called 'Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain' is one, and another is the medical report (in The Lancet) called 'A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for Five Years'."

Perhaps the Ig Nobels are, in fact, an experiment in their own right: to see why, when some scientists are looking at the stars, others are stuck staring in the gutter, like the 2010 Transportation Planning Prize winners from Japan and the UK, honoured for their work using slime mould to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

On Thursday, September 29, genuine Nobel laureates will hand the prizes to the winners, including the recipient of the Win-a-Date-with-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest. But whoever wins shouldn't get too excited, warns Dr Stephens – you don't go home with a golden trophy. "They create a unique object out of cheap materials each year. Mine was a plaque, a bit like a petri dish with three bacteria-like creatures made of packing foam attached. My daughter christened them 'Ig' 'Nobel' and 'Award'. You're supposed to hang them in the loo, but mine's on a shelf somewhere."

Full list of previous years' winners: http://improbable.com/ig/winners/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... ience.html
Next week? That time of year already? Looking forward to it, there's always a good article in the FT about these awards.
Beetle's beer bottle sex wins Ig Nobel Prize
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

That's right, certain Australian beetles will try to copulate with discarded beer bottles, but they have to be of the right type - brown ones with bobbly bits on them.
This fascinating observation made almost 30 years ago has finally landed entomologists Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz with an Ig Nobel Prize.

The Igs are the "alternative" version to the rather more sober Nobel awards announced in Sweden next week.

Other recipients this year of the prizes run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research included the mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania, Arturas Zuokas.
He was honoured with the Ig Peace Prize for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars could be solved by squashing them with an armoured tank. :D

The Chemistry Prize went to an inventive Japanese team that worked out how to use wasabi (pungent horseradish) in a fire alarm system. The group even has a patent pending on its idea.

Understanding why discus throwers get dizzy was the topic of the study that won the Physics Prize. :roll:

The American awards were handed out on Thursday at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre, in what has become down the years a slightly chaotic but fun event where people throw paper planes and a little girl berates the winners.

Being given an Ig is nowadays regarded as something to be proud of, which may explain why seven of the 10 winners this year travelled to the ceremony at their own expense. Receiving their Ig from a real Nobel Laureate - seven of them were in attendance - probably added to the sense of achievement.

"I'm a great believer in communicating science to non-scientists and I think humour is a good way of doing that; and for that reason I think the Ig Nobels are very positive," Professor Darryl Gwynne told BBC News.
His and David Rentz' study of buprestid beetles began by accident one morning on a field expedition in Western Australia when they found the insects trying to mate with brown "stubbies" left by the side of the road.

"It was just co-incidental that my area of research was Darwinian sexual selection and how sex differences evolve, and here was a classic example taking place in front of my eyes where males were making mating errors.
"It was very obvious the beetles were trying to mate. These beetles have enormous genitalia, and they're large to start with - over two inches long. "The sad thing was that these beetles were dying; they wouldn't leave the bottles alone. They'd fall off them exhausted.
"It was almost certainly the visual colour - the bottle looked like a giant female. And also in the reflectance patterns - there were stipples on the bottles that resembled marks on the females' wing covers."


Excellent, but what an embarrassing way to go for the beetles, if they are dying out. Don't drop litter is the moral of that tale. And don't illegally park your luxury car either, although for different reasons. Not sure how that's science, mind you.

I thought discus throwers would be experienced enough not to get dizzy, so you live and learn. Maybe if they were more like ballerinas and ensured they were looking at a fixed position when they spun?
It's that time of year again! :D

Ig Nobel honours ponytail physics
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

A UK/US team that came up with an equation to predict the shape of a ponytail has earned itself an Ig Nobel.
Patrick Warren, Raymond Goldstein, Robin Ball and Joe Keller picked up their prestigious award at a sellout gala ceremony at Harvard University.

Igs are intended as a bit of a spoof on the more sober Nobel science prizes.
Other 2012 winners included teams that studied how chimps could recognise each other from their behinds and why coffee will spill out of a moving mug.

But although some of this celebrated research might sound daft, much of it is intended to tackle real-world problems and gets published in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals.

Dr Warren, who is a researcher for Unilever in the UK, said he was thrilled to pick up his Ig.
"I'm amazed that a piece of work I've done has attracted so much attention," he told BBC News.
"My field, statistical physics, is not something that many will have heard of, so I'm really pleased we've done something that's caught the imagination."
His and his co-workers' research produced what has become known as the "Ponytail Shape Equation".

It takes into account the stiffness of the hair fibres on the head, the effects of gravity and the presence of the random curliness or waviness that is ubiquitous in human hair to model how a ponytail is likely to behave.
Together with a new quantity the team calls the Rapunzel Number, the equation can be used to predict the shape that hair will take when it is drawn behind the head and tied together.

"I've been working on this for a long time," said Dr Warren. "At Unilever, as you can imagine, there is a lot of interest because we sell a lot of haircare products. But there are wider applications where you have a lot of fibres coming together, such as in fabrics.
"I've also wondered if we can contribute something to the whole area of computer animation. Hair, for example, is something that is very hard to make look natural in animated movies."

Thursday's Ig Nobel ceremony at Harvard's Sanders Theatre was the 22nd since the American science humour magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, started the event.

The gala is always attended by real Nobel Laureates, who are tasked with handing out the prizes. Recipients get 60 seconds to make an acceptance speech. If they run over, a young girl will start to shout "boring". Another tradition is for everyone in the theatre to throw paper planes. 8)

The full list of 2012 Ig Nobel winners:

Psychology Prize: Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan (Netherlands) and Tulio Guadalupe (Peru/Russia/Netherlands) for their study Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller.

Peace Prize: The SKN Company (Russia) for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

Acoustics Prize: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada (Japan) for creating the SpeechJammer - a machine that disrupts a person's speech by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

Neuroscience Prize: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford (US) for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere - even in a dead salmon. :shock:

Chemistry Prize: Johan Pettersson (Sweden/Rwanada) for solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people's hair turned green.

Literature Prize: The US Government General Accountability Office for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports. :madeyes:

Physics Prize: Joseph Keller (US), Raymond Goldstein (US/UK), Patrick Warren and Robin Ball (UK) for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. Prof Keller was additionally given an Ig for work he contributed to on non-drip teapots in 1999 but for which he had been wrongly overlooked at the time.

Fluid Dynamics Prize: Rouslan Krechetnikov (US/Russia/Canada) and Hans Mayer (US) for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.

Anatomy Prize: Frans de Waal (Netherlands/US) and Jennifer Pokorny (US) for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.

Medicine Prize: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti (France) for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimise the chance that their patients will explode. :shock:

What use would the SpeechJammer be other than to wind people up? It's not going to calm someone down if that's the proposal.

The liquid sloshing research could come in handy, especially if you regularly take a mug of coffee upstairs.
Keep forgetting to say, SpeechJammer was coincidentally on QI last week, and apparently used to cure stammerers.
Oh joy! Infinite Monkey Cage on the Ig Nobels! :D

The Infinite Monkey Cage - Series 7
- 2. Improbable Science

Brian Cox and Robin Ince discuss some of the more unlikely and odd avenues of research travelled down in the name of science. For example, the British physicist who calculated the optimal way to dunk a biscuit into a cup of tea without it disintegrating too quickly. Or the brain researchers who demonstrated that they could detect meaningful brain activity... in a dead salmon. All these academics share something in common, not just a slightly quirky application of the scientific method. They have also been a recipient of the now infamous Ig Nobel prizes, awarded each year as a parody of the Nobel Prize, to research that seems at first glance, entirely improbable, and possibly pointless. Robin and Brian are joined on stage by the organiser of the Ig Nobels, Marc Abrahams, comedian Katy Brand and biologist Professor Matthew Cobb, from the University of Manchester, to ask whether all scientific exploration is valid, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at first glance, or whether there is genuinely something to be learned from observations that to many, may seem pointless.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... e_Science/

Available until
12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099 :?
'Beer goggle' study wins Ig Nobel award
By Melissa Hogenboom, Science reporter, BBC News

A team of researchers who found that people think they are more attractive when drinking alcohol, have scooped an Ig Nobel prize for their work
The researchers from France and the US confirmed the "beer goggle effect" also works on oneself.

Ig Nobel awards are a humorous spoof-like version of their more sober cousins, the Nobel prizes.
Winners have 60 seconds to make a speech to avoid being booed off stage by an eight-year-old girl.

Titled "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder", the team were awarded one of the 10 awards (listed below) at a packed gala ceremony at Harvard University, US.
Other winners included a patent for trapping and ejecting airplane highjackers and a UK team scooped an Ig for observing that a cow is more likely to stand up the longer it has been lying down. :D

The Peace Prize went to the president and state police of Belarus for making public applause illegal and having arrested a one-armed man for the offence. They did not attend the ceremony.

Penile amputations were the focus of the Public Health Prize. A team from Thailand recommended how to manage an epidemic of such amputations, but said their technique was not advised in cases where the penis had been partially eaten by a duck (after amputation).

Representing archaeology was a study that observed which bones dissolved when swallowing whole a dead shrew.

Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, US, and one of the five co-authors of the alcohol attractiveness study, said he was honoured that his team's work had won an Ig.
In the study, people in a bar were asked how funny, original and attractive they found themselves. The higher their blood alcohol level the more attractive they thought they were.

The same effect was also found for those who only thought they had been drinking alcohol when in fact it was a non-alcoholic placebo drink.

"People have long observed that drunk people think others are more attractive but ours is the first study to find that drinking makes people think they are more attractive themselves," Prof Bushman told the BBC.
"If you become drunk and think you are really attractive it might influence your thoughts and behaviour towards others. It illustrates that in human memory, the link between alcohol and attractiveness is pretty strong."

Judges were also asked to rate how attractive they thought the participants were. The individuals who thought they were more attractive were not necessarily rated thus by judges.
"It was just an illusion in their mind. Although people may think they become more attractive when they become intoxicated, other [sober] people don't think that," added Prof Bushman.

Prize winners tend to see the Ig Nobels as a considerable honour and indeed seven of the 10 winners (one winner died in 2006) attended the ceremony in Cambridge, US, to accept the prizes at their own expense.

Although a light-hearted event, the awards are handed out for work that is for the most part serious research. Prof Bushman said that his study significantly contributed to the existing literature.

And the study about cows standing up or lying down was important to be able to detect health problems early on, say its authors.
"We were surprised by the prize. We thought we did a decent piece of work and did not realise it made other people laugh," lead author Bert Tolkamp from Scotland's Rural College, UK, told BBC News. But he added that anything that promoted interest in science was very welcome.

The full list of 2013 Ig Nobel winners:

Medicine Prize: Masateru Uchiyama, Gi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Hashuda (Japan), Xiangyuan Jin (China/Japan) and Masanori Niimi (Japan/UK) for assessing the effect of listening to opera on mice heart transplant patients.

Psychology Prize: Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, and Medhi Ourabah, (France), Brad Bushman (USA/UK/, the Netherlands/Poland) for confirming that people who think they are drunk also think they are more attractive.

Joint Prize in Biology and Astronomy: Marie Dacke (Sweden/Australia), Emily Baird, Eric Warrant (Sweden/Australia/Germany], Marcus Byrne (South Africa/UK) and Clarke Scholtz (South Africa), for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the milky way.

Safety Engineering Prize: The late Gustano Pizzo (US), for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers. The system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors through which he is parachuted to the ground where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.

Physics Prize: Alberto Minetti (Italy/UK/Denmark/Switzerland), Yuri Ivanenko (Italy/Russia/France), Germana Cappellini, Francesco lacquaniti (Italy) and Nadia Dominici (Italy/Switzerland), for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond - if those people and that pond were on the Moon. :roll:

Chemistry Prize: Shinsuke Imai, Nobuaki Tsuge, Muneaki Tomotake, Yoshiaki Nagatome, Hidehiko Kumgai (Japan) and Toshiyuki Nagata (Japan/Germany), for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realised.

Archaeology Prize: Brian Crandall (US) and Peter Stahl (Canada/US), for observing how the bones of a swallowed dead shrew dissolves inside the human digestive system

Peace Prize: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, and to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

Probability Prize: Bert Tolkamp (UK/the Netherlands), Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford. David Roberts, and Colin Morgan (UK), for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

Public Health Prize: Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde (Thailand), for the medical techniques of penile re-attachment after amputations (often by jealous wives). Techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

Excellent, always a great report to read, that one. The hijacker trap seems to rely a lot on them standing in the right spot, is there a big X on the aircraft floor?

I would think it would be easy to run across a pond on the Moon seeing as how it would be frozen. Be interesting to find out what the point of that research was.
It's that time of year again:

Slippery banana study wins Ig Nobel
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

Research that investigated why bananas are slippery when you step on them has won one of this year's Ig Nobel prizes.
The spoof awards that have become almost as famous as the real Nobels were handed out at their annual ceremony at Harvard University, US.

Kiyoshi Mabuchi's Japanese team measured the friction of banana skin in the lab, and showed why apple and orange peel are not quite so hazardous.
The Kitasato University group received the physics Ig for their insights.

It is another classic of its type. The awards, which are run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, can seem quite ridiculous at first.
But when you delve deeper, you often see a serious intention beyond just the tongue in cheek.

The Japanese scientists are interested in how friction and lubrication affect the movement of our limbs.
The organic gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet.
"This concept will help to design a joint prosthesis," Kiyoshi Mabuchi told BBC News.

Another winner this year was the study that examined the brains of people who see the face of Jesus and other figures in slices toast. The work won the neuroscience Ig.

Kang Lee, from the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues showed their subjects pictures of "noise" - like the random speckles you used to get on old, out-of-tune TVs - to see what patterns the volunteers would identify.

This tendency to see order in randomness - like a face in the charred areas of a piece of bread - is a well-established phenomenon called pareidolia.
Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Lee and his team saw how the same parts of the brain light up when we see non-existent faces as when we see real ones.

"Interestingly, when you superimpose all the noise images where these people say they see faces, and subtract all the noise images in which they told us they couldn't see faces - when we do this type of image processing, a face does actually show up," Prof Lee said.

The Toronto scientist explained that this type of pattern recognition was hard-wired, and even chimps experienced it.
"The face you are going to see is determined by your personal expectations or beliefs," he added.

"So, for example, Buddhists might not see Jesus on toast, but they might see a Buddha on toast."

This is the 24th year of the Ig Nobels, and they just get bigger and bigger.
Marc Abrahams, the editor of Annals of Improbable Research, said scientists were clearly now doing studies with an eye to winning an Ig.
"We're getting about 9,000 nominations a year. About 10% to 20% are self-nominations, but these entries hardly ever win," he told BBC News.

"That's generally because they are just trying to be funny. Whereas, those who win perhaps don't start out that way, and only realise later on that what they are up to really is kind of funny."

etc, including full list of winners...

rynner2 said:
Kang Lee, from the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues showed their subjects pictures of "noise" - like the random speckles you used to get on old, out-of-tune TVs - to see what patterns the volunteers would identify.

"They're here!"
'Universal urination duration' wins Ig Nobel prize
By Jonathan Webb Science reporter, BBC News

A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate has been awarded one of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes at Harvard University.
These spoof Nobels for "improbable research" are in their 25th year.

The team behind the urination research, from Georgia Tech, won the physics Ig.
Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds.
Their subjects included rats, goats, cows and elephants - and although the findings reveal a remarkably consistent "scaling law" in bigger beasts, they also emphasise that small animals do things quite differently.

Rats can urinate in a fraction of a second, for example. This might make rodents a poor choice for studying urinary health problems.
"We don't have a proper animal model for urinary system research," said the study's lead author Patricia Yang, a PhD student in mechanical engineering.
She told the BBC there might also be physical lessons to learn, from the adaptability of the system in bigger creatures. From water towers to drinking backpacks, Ms Yang said, "every time we need a new function, we figure out a new design for it.


Run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, this is a jubilantly irreverent affair. It has become world famous for recognising scientific achievements that "make people laugh, and then think".

This year's Ig winners travelled from six continents to accept their trophies. The triumphant research included a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg, and the discovery that the word "huh?" occurs in every human language.

Another recipient, Michael Smith from Cornell University, ranked the pain of bee stings on different parts of the body, by orchestrating repeated stings to the four corners of his own anatomy. These ranged from the skull, the middle toe and the upper arm (at the less painful end) to the penis shaft, the upper lip and the nostril. :eek:

Marc Abrahams, the Ig Nobels' founder and the evening's master of ceremonies, closed the event with his customary punchline: "If you didn't win an Ig Nobel prize tonight - and especially if you did - better luck next year."



Enjoy! :p
I might have known everyone in the world (the universe?) goes "Huh?" Do we say it more these days than ever before, I wonder?
After 21 years, the Annals of Improbable Research — that bastion of uber-nerdy science humor — is switching from a dead tree format to an all-digital PDF format. And it’s holding a special subscription sale to celebrate. From now until October 31, you can get a yearly subscription (six issues) for just $15/year, instead of the usual $25/year.

Edited by Marc Abraham, the magazine highlights unusual scientific research from around the world. Yes, a lot of them are funny — “Influence of Coriolis Force on the Growth of Body Hair,” anyone? — but often as not, there’s some genuine useful science lurking underneath. As the magazine’s tagline (also the tagline for the associated blog and the annual Ig Nobel Prizes) says: “Improbable research is research that makes people laugh and then think.”

It's Ig Nobel time again!

The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 6:00 pm*
Sanders Theater, Harvard University
(twitter: #IgNobel)

*Pre-ceremony concert —and the webcast —begin at 5:40 pm (US Eastern Time)
The ceremony proper begins at 6:00 pm

Ig Nobel win for Alpine 'goat man'
By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent

A British man who lived in the Alps as a goat for three days has won one of this year's Ig Nobel prizes.
Tom Thwaites had special prostheses made so he could walk like an animal.

The spoof awards, which are not quite as famous as the real Nobels, were handed out during their annual ceremony at Harvard University, US.

Other studies honoured during the event examined the personalities of rocks, and how the world looks when you bend over and view it through your legs.

On the surface, all the celebrated research sounds a bit daft, but a lot of it - when examined closely - is actually intended to tackle real-world problems.

And nearly all of the science gets published in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals.

It is unlikely, though, that the German carmaker Volkswagen will appreciate the point or humour of the Ig Nobels.
The firm has been awarded the chemistry prize for the way it cheated emissions tests. :twisted:

Goat-man Tom Thwaites actually shares his biology prize with another Briton, Charles Foster, who also has spent time in the wild trying to experience life from an animal's perspective.
Clearly, the practice is fast-becoming a national trait.

Mr Thwaites concedes his effort was initially an attempt to escape the stress of modern living, but then became a passion.
He spent a year researching the idea, and even persuaded an expert in prostheses, Dr Glyn Heath at Salford University, to build him a set of goat legs.

Fascinating, if a little bizarre on occasions, was Mr Thwaites' verdict on the whole venture. He developed a strong bond with one animal in particular - a "goat buddy", but also very nearly kicked off a big confrontation at one point.

"I was just sort of walking around, you know chewing grass, and just looked up and then suddenly realised that everyone else had stopped chewing and there was this tension which I hadn't kind of noticed before and then one or two of the goats started tossing their horns around and I think I was about to get in a fight," he told BBC News.

The American science humour magazine, the Annals of Improbable Research, is the inspiration behind the Ig Nobels, which are now in their 26th year.

Thursday night's ceremony was reportedly as chaotic as ever, with audience members throwing the obligatory paper planes while real Nobel laureates attempted to hand out the prizes.

The full list of winners announced at Harvard's Sanders Theatre:

Reproduction Prize - The late Ahmed Shafik, for testing the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats.

Economics Prize - Mark Avis and colleagues, for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective.

Physics Prize - Gabor Horvath and colleagues, for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.

Chemistry Prize - Volkswagen, for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested.

Medicine Prize - Christoph Helmchen and colleagues, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).

Psychology Prize - Evelyne Debey and colleagues, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers.

Peace Prize - Gordon Pennycook and colleagues, for their scholarly study called "On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit".

Biology Prize - Awarded jointly to: Charles Foster, for living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird; and to Thomas Thwaites, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats.

Literature Prize - Fredrik Sjoberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead.

Perception Prize - Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs.

For those who cannot abide this sort of nonsense, the real Nobel Prizes are handed out the week after next.

Sounds like the peace prize and psychology prize could also be given for services to the internet. I'd like to know more about the perception prize, does getting dizzy enter into the equation?
Physics Prize - Gabor Horvath and colleagues, for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.

Anyone know the answer or where to find it? I've never heard of this happening.
Anyone know the answer or where to find it? I've never heard of this happening.

REFERENCE: "Ecological Traps for Dragonflies in a Cemetery: The Attraction of Sympetrum species (Odonata: Libellulidae) by Horizontally Polarizing Black Grave-Stones," Gábor Horváth, Péter Malik, György Kriska, Hansruedi Wildermuth, Freshwater Biology, vol. 52, vol. 9, September 2007, pp. 1700–9.

You can view the paper (PDF) here.

TL;DR - Dragonflies think the reflected/polarised light is water. Females lay eggs on gravestone, thinking it's water.
TL;DR - Dragonflies think the reflected/polarised light is water. Females lay eggs on gravestone, thinking it's water.

Ah, thanks. I thought they must be flying headlong into them like birds into windows. Female Southern Hawker dragonflies will attempt to lay eggs on suede shoes (if you're standing near a pond) in the mistaken belief that your feet are mossy rocks.