o The Frog Blog: The Ig Nobel Awards

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Ig Nobel Awards


The Ig Nobel Awards or Igs took place yesterday in Harward Univeristy. The Igs are an alternative to the Nobel Prizes, where recipients findings generally provide more questions than answers. This year the awards were presented by real Nobel laureates, with only 60 seconds allowed for acceptances speeches. A summary of the awards is below:

  • Veterinary Medicine Prize - Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson at Newcastle University's school of agriculture share the award for the groundbreaking discovery that giving cows names such as Daisy increases their milk yield.

  • Peace prize - Awarded for research on whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full beer bottle or an empty one, the prize went to Stephan Bolliger and colleagues at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

  • Public Health Prize - Awarded to Elena Bodnar of Hinsdale, Illinois, for patenting a bra that, in an emergency, can be converted into a pair of gas masks.

  • Medicine Prize - To Donald Unger, a doctor in Thousand Oaks, California, who cracked the knuckles of his left hand, but never those on his right, every day for 60 years to investigate whether it caused arthritis. It didn't.

  • Chemistry Prize - Javier Morales shares the award with two colleagues at the National University of Mexico for turning the national drink, tequila, into diamonds.

  • Physics Prize - Awarded to Katherine Whitcome at the University of Cincinnati and colleagues for a detailed explanation of why pregnant women do not topple over.

  • Biology Prize - Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University graduate school of medical sciences in Japan share the prize for demonstrating that kitchen waste can be reduced by more than 90% by using bacteria extracted from giant panda excrement.

  • Mathematics Prize - Awarded to the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, for ordering his bank to print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.

  • Literature Prize - Awarded to our very own Gardaí for issuing more than 50 penalties to a man they supposed to be the most persistent driving offender in the country: a Mr Prawo Jazdy, whose name in Polish means "driver's licence".

  • Economics Prize - Awarded to the directors, executives and auditors of four Icelandic banks: Kaupthing bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir bank and Central Bank of Iceland, "for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa – and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy".

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