Today we look back at Caroline Richmond’s obituary of Jacques Benveniste, the first person to be awarded more than one Ig Nobel Prize. The obituary appeared in October 2004 in The Guardian. The obituary finishes with the following paragraphs:
…. Benveniste published 230 scientific papers, many of them in reputable journals. Towards the end of his life he compared himself with Galileo and repeatedly stated that he was in the running for a Nobel Prize. He won not one but two of the satirical Ignobel prizes awarded by a gang of Harvard scientists – the 1991 chemistry prize for showing that water has memory, and the 1998 one for a paper showing that information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the internet.
After seven years in the wilderness, Benveniste set up a company, DigiBio, in 1997, to promulgate his ideas. It was funded by France’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic medicines, and by sympathisers. Its website, www.digibio.com [the company apparently went out of business some years later, without having delivered product in quite the manner prospective customers hoped for] gives its own account of the Nature debacle and appeals for funds from believers and supporters.