Laugh then think

22/09/2012

The Ignobles are awarded each year by the people at Improbable Research for achievements that first make people laugh then make people think.

Winners of the 2012 Ignobles are:

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: 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” . . .

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 [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon. . .

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Johan Pettersson [SWEDEN and RWANDA]. 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. . .

PHYSICS PRIZE: Joseph Keller [USA], and Raymond Goldstein [USA and UK], Patrick Warren, and Robin Ball [UK], for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. . .

FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE: Rouslan Krechetnikov [USA, RUSSIA, CANADA] and Hans Mayer [USA] 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 [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] 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 minimize the chance that their patients will explode. . .

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: We are now, in 2012, correcting an error we made in the year 1999, when we failed to include one winner’s name. We now correct that, awarding a share of the 1999 physics prize to Joseph Keller. Professor Keller is also a co-winner of the 2012 Ig Nobel physics prize, making him a two-time Ig Nobel winner. . .

The one that stands out is advice to help doctors who perform colonoscopies minimise the chance their patients will explode. The consequences are best not imagined.

The awards ceremony was filmed, you’ll find it by clicking on the first link.

 


Socks stop slips study wins Ig Noble

02/10/2010

Is it an urban myth or do Dunedin people really wear their socks outside their shoes to stop them slipping over on icy footpaths in winter?

It’s not a myth, they do, it’s been the topic of a scientific research and that research has won an Ig Nobel – the prize awarded for research which makes people laugh then think.

The 2010 Ignoble for physics prize was won by Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

Among other awards were:

PEACE PRIZE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam and and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg for a discovering  asthma symptoms could be treated by a roller coaster ride.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: 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.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and BP [British Petroleum], for disproving the old belief that oil and water don’t mix.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

Their study was called the Peter Principle Revisited.

Hat Tip: TV3.


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