2007 Ig Nobel winners

The 2007 Ig Nobel prizes are out! There is a BBC News article on it, and this is the full list. I think the Aviation prize is my favourite, though the chemistry one is a close second. I’ll stick to chocolate…

Medicine

Brian Witcombe of Gloucester, UK, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, USA, for their penetrating medical report "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects."

Physics

L. Mahadevan of Harvard University, USA, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago de Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled. (Reference "Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling")

Biology

Prof. Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, for doing a census of all the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds each night. (Reference "House, Bed and Bugs")

Chemistry

Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin — vanilla fragrance and flavoring — from cow dung. (Reference "Novel Production Method for Plant Polyphenol from Livestock Excrement Using Subcritical Water Reaction")

Linguistics

Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards. (Reference "Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats")

Literature

Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word "the" — and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order. (Reference "The Definite Article: Acknowledging ‘The’ in Index Entries")

Peace

The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, USA, for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon — the so-called "gay bomb" — that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other. (Reference "Harassing, Annoying, and ‘Bad Guy’ Identifying Chemicals")

Nutrition

Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup. (Reference "Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake")

Economics

Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device, in the year 2001, that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them. (Reference U.S. patent #6,219,959, "net trapping system for capturing a robber immediately")

Aviation

Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters. (Reference "Sildenafil Accelerates Reentrainment of Circadian Rhythms After Advancing Light Schedules")

2 thoughts on “2007 Ig Nobel winners”

  1. The Economics award seems a little premature… I gather a Mr. Wile E. Coyote is contesting the patent. =:o}

  2. re: jetlag

    I know jetlag is one of the biggest problems facing the managers who have to nip over for west coast meetings on a regular basis. Would that make the little blue pill a legitimate business expense?

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