Sunday, October 16, 2005

2005 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

2005 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

In case you missed it, the 15th annual Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded recently.

* What are the Ig Nobel Prizes?
"Every Ig Nobel Prize winner has done something that first makes people LAUGH,
 then makes them THINK."
"The Igs are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and
 spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

* This year's winners
A selection:
John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland,
Australia, for patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927
-- in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping
through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years.
The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail
to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of
readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam
Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom req-
uires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the
great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share
with the kind person who assists them.
Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an
alarm clock that runs away and hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people
DO get out of bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to
the workday.
Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the
University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a
careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can
people swim faster in syrup or in water?
Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats of Tokyo, Japan, for photographing and retrospectively
analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and


Two TV programs with a humorous take on science:
* MythBusters
* Brainiac