This year’s IgNobel prizes have been awarded. The following is shamelessly nicked from the Mini-Air newsletter:
The 2009 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on October 1, at the 19th
First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard’s Sanders
Theatre. Nine Nobel laureates were on hand, physically presenting
the Ig Nobel prizes. Here are the winners:
VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson
of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing
that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Peter Rowlinson. Catherine Douglas was
unable to travel because she recently gave birth; she sent a
photo that showed herself, her new daughter dressed in a cow
suit, and a cow.
PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg,
Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern,
Switzerland, for determining – by experiment – whether it is
better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or
with an empty bottle.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Stephan Bolliger
ECONOMICS PRIZE: 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
CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M.
Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating
diamonds from liquid – specifically from tequila.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Javier Morales and Miguel Apátiga
MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California,
USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the
fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand –
but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand – every day for
more than sixty (60) years.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Donald Unger
PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of
Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA,
and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for
analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Katherine Whitcome and Daniel
LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland’s police service (An Garda Siochana),
for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the
most frequent driving offender in the country – Prawo Jazdy –
whose name in Polish means "Driving License".
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: [Karolina Lewestam, a Polish citizen
and holder of a Polish driver’s license, speaking on behalf of
all her fellow Polish licensed drivers, expressed her good wishes
to the Irish police service.]
PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra
Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere
that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of
protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be
given to some needy bystander.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Elena Bodnar.
MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve
Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a
wide range of numbers – from very small to very big – by having
his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one
cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion dollars
BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of
Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in
Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be
reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from
the feces of giant pandas.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Fumiaki Taguchi
Winner details and links: <http://improbable.com/ig/winners>
Ceremony details: <http://improbable.com/ig/2009>
Video of the ceremony is (or soon will be) online at: