Ig Nobel 2010 winners 2


Well here they are at last … the list of our learned friends who have, in their attempts to push the boundary of knowledge, taken a left-hand turn into what can be best described as the “WTF” zone …. enjoy :-) … the official prize ceremony took place last Thursday evening at Harvard.

ENGINEERING PRIZE: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

  • REFERENCE: “A Novel Non-Invasive Tool for Disease Surveillance of Free-Ranging Whales and Its Relevance to Conservation Programs,” Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, Agnes Rocha-Gosselin and Diane Gendron, Animal Conservation, vol. 13, no. 2, April 2010, pp. 217-25.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, Agnes Rocha-Gosselin, Diane Gendron

MEDICINE PRIZE: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller-coaster ride.

  • REFERENCE: “Rollercoaster Asthma: When Positive Emotional Stress Interferes with Dyspnea Perception,” Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest, Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 45, 2006, pp. 977–87.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING PRIZE: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi of Japan, and Dan Bebber, Mark Fricker of the UK, for using slime mold to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

  • REFERENCE: “Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design,” Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Dan P. Bebber, Mark D. Fricker, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi, Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Science, Vol. 327. no. 5964, January 22, 2010, pp. 439-42.
    [NOTE: THE FOLLOWING ARE CO-WINNERS BOTH THIS YEAR AND IN 2008 when they were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for demonstrating that slime molds can solve puzzles: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Ryo Kobayashi, Atsushi Tero]
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Kentaro Ito, Atsushi Tero, Mark Fricker, Dan Bebber

PHYSICS PRIZE: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago, New Zealand, for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

  • REFERENCE: “Preventing Winter Falls: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Novel Intervention,” Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest, New Zealand Medical Journal. vol. 122, no, 1298, July 3, 2009, pp. 31-8.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Lianne Parkin

PEACE PRIZE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

  • REFERENCE: “Swearing as a Response to Pain,” Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston, Neuroreport, vol. 20 , no. 12, 2009, pp. 1056-60.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Richard Stephens

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews, and Larry Taylor of the Industrial Health and Safety Office, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA, for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

  • REFERENCE: “Microbiological Laboratory Hazard of Bearded Men,” Manuel S. Barbeito, Charles T. Mathews, and Larry A. Taylor, Applied Microbiology, vol. 15, no. 4, July 1967, pp. 899–906. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC547091/?tool=pubmed>
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Manuel S. Barbeito was unable to travel, due to health reasons. A representative read his acceptance speech for him.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and BP [British Petroleum], for disproving the old belief that oil and water don’t mix.

  • REFERENCE: “Review of Deep Oil Spill Modeling Activity Supported by the Deep Spill JIP and Offshore Operator’s Committee. Final Report,” Eric Adams and Scott Socolofsky, 2005. <http://www.boemre.gov/tarprojects/377.htm>
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Eric Adams, Scott Socolofsky, and Stephen Masutani

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

  • REFERENCE: “The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study,” Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, Physica A, vol. 389, no. 3, February 2010, pp. 467-72.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.

  • REFERENCE: “Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time,” Min Tan, Gareth Jones, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, Shuyi Zhang and Libiao Zhang, PLoS ONE, vol. 4, no. 10, e7595.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Gareth Jones

If curious to find out more, you can check out all the details here … or … if you prefer a face-to-face experience, then why not attend this if you happen to be in the area today …

The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Oct 2, 2010, 1:00 pm.

MIT Building 10, Room 250
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

(Click here for a map and directions)

FREE ADMISSION — but seating is limited

A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:

And everyone will be available for you to talk with, both before and after the lectures.

This free event is organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.


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