2007 Ig Nobel Prize Winners.
The 2007 Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced yesterday at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. Per this Wikipedia entry, the Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year for ten achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The prize is organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR).
The 2007 winners include:
• Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin, or vanilla fragrance and flavoring, from cow dung.
• Linguistics: A University of Barcelona team for a study showing rats sometimes fail to distinguish between a person speaking Japanese backward and a person speaking Dutch backward.
• Peace Prize: The Air Force Wright Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research and development of a chemical weapon, the “gay bomb,” that “will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other.”
• Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device in 2001 that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them.
• Medicine: Brain Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and sword swallower Dan Meyer, of Antioch, Tenn., for their insightful work on the health consequences of swallowing a sword.
• Physics: A U.S.-Chilean team that ironed out the problem of how sheets become wrinkled.
• Biology: Johanna van Bronswijk of the Netherlands for carrying out a creepy-crawly census of all of the mites, insects, spiders, ferns and fungi that share our beds.
• Literature: Glenda Browne of Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of “the,” and how it can flummox those trying to put things into alphabetical order.
• Nutrition: Brian Wansink of Cornell University for investigating the limits of human appetite by feeding volunteers a self-refilling, “bottomless” bowl of soup.
• Aviation: A National University of Quilmes, Argentina, team for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters recover from jet lag.