25yrs of Ig Nobel awards: 10 of the world's most trivial scientific discoveries
The award, annually organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), was established in 1991 with the aim to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think".
The prizes are presented by genuine Nobel laureates in Sanders Theater at Harvard University.
888 children in less than three decades
This year the Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize was awarded to Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer (University of Vienna, Austria) for using maths to find out whether – and indeed how – Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed to father as many as 888 children in less than three decades, from 1697 through 1727.
Solution to illegal parking
Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, got the 2011 Peace Prize for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars could be easily solved by running them over with an armored tank.
Pee (or don't) before making decisions
The 2011 Medicine prize was shared by a group of researchers from the Netherlands, the UK, the US, Australia and Belgium for demonstrating that people make better decisions about “some kinds of things – but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.” Analyze that.
"Increased urination urgency facilitates impulse control in unrelated domains." Who knew?! http://t.co/S2udh7BQ Thanks, Tyler! :)— David Pereplyotchik (@psychosyntax) January 31, 2012
Diamonds from Tequila
In 2009 scientists Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga, and Victor M. Castano of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (National Autonomous University of Mexico) got the Chemistry Ig Nobel for creating diamonds from liquid – specifically from tequila.
Vanilla from cow poo
Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, received the Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize in 2007 for developing a way to extract vanillin (vanilla fragrance and flavoring) from cow dung. Yuck!
Toscanini's Ice Cream, the finest ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a new ice cream flavor in honor of Yamamoto calling it "Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist."
Easy way to wake up
In 2005 Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received the prize in economics for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, thus ensuring that people finally DO get out of bed. That's a real killer!
A benchmark in biology was reached in 2004 by Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia, Lawrence Dill of Simon Fraser University (Canada), Robert Batty of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Magnus Whalberg of the University of Aarhus (Denmark), and Hakan Westerberg of Sweden's National Board of Fisheries, for showing that herrings apparently communicate by... farting. Who could have guessed?
The 2004 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, was for inventing karaoke, thereby “providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.”
Effect of country music
In 2004 Steven Stack of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA and James Gundlach of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA, received the Ig Nobel prize in medicine for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide." How sad.
Cheating detector for wives
In 1999 Takeshi Makino, president of The Safety Detective Agency in Osaka, Japan, received the Ig Nobel Chemistry prize for his practical involvement with S-Check, an infidelity detection spray that wives could apply to their husbands' underwear and see the results.