A Dubious Honor

It's Nobel Prize time again, which means it's also time to announce the winners of its less serious and more amusing cousin, the Ig Nobels. I'll leave it to you to ponder the merits of this year's recipients.

ORNITHOLOGY -- The late Philip R.A. May and Ivan R. Schwab, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don't get headaches.

NUTRITION -- Wasmia Al-Houty and Faten Al-Mussalam, for showing that dung beetles are finicky about dung.

PEACE -- Howard Stapleton, for inventing a teenager repellent, an electronic device that makes an annoying noise audible to teenagers but not adults.

ACOUSTICS -- D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand, for their experiments on why people dislike the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

MATHEMATICS -- Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to ensure nobody in a group photo has their eyes closed.

LITERATURE -- Daniel Oppenheimer, for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."

MEDICINE -- Francis M. Fesmire, for his medical case report "Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage"; and Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan and Arie Oliven for their subsequent medical case report.

PHYSICS -- Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, for their insights into why dry spaghetti often breaks into more than two pieces when bent.

CHEMISTRY -- Antonio Mulet, Jose Javier Benedito, Jose Bon and
Carmen Rossello, for their study "Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature."

BIOLOGY -- Bart Knols and Ruurd de Jong, for showing that female malaria mosquitoes are attracted equally to the smell of Limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.

The take-home lesson: you can research just about anything, but someone may make fun of it.

[Listening to: "The Pageant of the Bizarre" by Zero 7]

No comments: