Interlopers Usurp Ig
a copy of a press release
issued January 9, 1995
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan 9, 1995 ================================================= Washington Lobbyists Try to Interlope on Ig Nobel ================================================= (CAMBRIDGE, MA) These days nothing is sacred to Washington lobbyists -- not even the Ig Nobel Prize. A lobby group has tried to appropriate the good name of the Ig Nobel Prizes. The genuine prizes are awarded each fall by "The Annals of Improbable Research" (which has been described as "The MAD Magazine of science") and The MIT Museum. They honor individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced." Last week an animal rights lobby group calling itself "Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine" issued a press release in which it tried to announce its own list of Ig Nobel Prizewinners. The international science community is shocked. "I am shocked," said Harvard Professor William Lipscomb, a 1976 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. "I am shocked," said Harvard Professor Sheldon Glashow, a 1990 Nobel Laureate in Physics. "It's outrageous. My hair stands on end at the very thought of it," said New England Biolabs research director Richard Roberts, a 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. "I am shocked and disgusted," said Harvard Professor Dudley Herschbach, a 1979 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. "I am appalled that someone would try to use the vehicle of the Ig Nobel awards for political aims," said MIT Professor Jerome Friedman, a 1990 Nobel Laureate in Physics. "The purpose of these awards is to enhance the humor of our lives, something that is in short supply and should be protected." At the Fourth First Annual Ig Nobel Ceremony, held this past October 6 at MIT, several Nobel Laureates and 1200 lab-coated hecklers announced the 1994 winners, several of whom accepted their prizes with humorous speeches. Marc Abrahams, AIR's editor and Chairman of the Ig Nobel Board of Governors, has issued the following statement: "We were shocked, shocked to hear that a lobbying group in Washington, DC has tried to claim credit for the Ig Nobel Prizes. It seems unthinkable that a group called 'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine' would knowingly commit an irresponsible act. Yet, it has oft been observed that we live in an imperfect universe. While we sympathize to some extent with the group (for example: we no longer advocate that monkeys be forced to become crack cocaine addicts), we cannot permit them to appropriate the good name of the Ig Nobel Prizes. We must protect the purity and essence of the genuine Ig Nobel Prizewinners." Abrahams stressed that the genuine prizes are nominated by scientists from around the world, and are carefully researched before the winners are chosen. "It's not clear whether these would-be AIRheads in Washington have checked their facts. Maybe they're just frustrated that they have never won an Ig Nobel Prize, and feel this is a novel way to campaign for one." A complete list of the genuine 1994 Ig Nobel Prizewinners is appended below. ===================================================== The Genuine 1994 Ig Nobel Prizewinners BIOLOGY W. Brian Sweeney, Brian Krafte-Jacobs, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Wayne Hansen, for their breakthrough study, "The Constipated Serviceman: Prevalence Among Deployed US Troops," and especially for their numerical analysis of bowel movement frequency. [The study was published in "Military Medicine," vol. 158, August, 1993, pages 346-348.] PEACE John Hagelin of Maharishi International University and The Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, promulgator of peaceful thoughts, for his experimental conclusion that 4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C. [Details were published in "Interim Report: Results fo the National Demonstration Project To Reduce Violent Crime and Improve Governmental Effectiveness In Washington, D.C., June 7 to July 30, 1993," Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, Fairfield, Iowa.] MEDICINE This prize is awarded in two parts. First, to Patient X, formerly of the US Marine Corps, valiant victim of a venomous bite from his pet rattlesnake, for his determined use of electroshock therapy -- at his own insistence, automobile sparkplug wires were attached to his lip, and the car engine revved to 3000 rpm for five minutes. Second, to Dr. Richard C. Dart of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center and Dr. Richard A. Gustafson of The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, for their well-grounded medical report: "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation." [The report was published in "Annals of Emergency Medicine," vol. 20, no. 6, June 1991, pp. 659-661.] ENTOMOLOGY Robert A. Lopez of Westport, NY, valiant veterinarian and friend of all creatures great and small, for his series of experiments in obtaining ear mites from cats, inserting them into his own ear, and carefully observing and analyzing the results. [Dr. Lopez's report was published in "The Journal of the American Veterinary Society," vol. 203, no. 5, Sept. 1, 1993, pp. 606-607.] PSYCHOLOGY Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore, practitioner of the psychology of negative reinforcement, for his thirty-year study of the effects of punishing three million citizens of Singapore whenever they spat, chewed gum, or fed pigeons. PHYSICS The Japanese Meteorological Agency, for its seven-year study of whether earthquakes are caused by catfish wiggling their tails. LITERATURE L. Ron Hubbard, ardent author of science fiction and founding father of Scientology, for his crackling Good Book, "Dianetics," which is highly profitable to mankind or to a portion thereof. CHEMISTRY Texas State Senator Bob Glasgow, wise writer of logical legislation, for sponsoring the 1989 drug control law which make it illegal to purchase beakers, flasks, test tubes, or other laboratory glassware without a permit. ECONOMICS Jan Pablo Davila of Chile, tireless trader of financial futures and former employee of the state-owned Codelco Company, for instructing his computer to "buy" when he meant "sell," and subsequently attempting to recoup his losses by making increasingly unprofitable trades that ultimately lost .5 percent of Chile's gross national product. Davila's relentless achievement inspired his countrymen to coin a new verb: "davilar," meaning, "to botch things up royally." MATHEMATICIANS The Southern Baptist Church of Alabama, mathematical measurers of morality, for their county-by-county estimate of how many Alabama citizens will go to Hell if they don't repent. ============================ A News Source You May Need ============================ The mini-Annals of Improbable Research (mini-AIR) is the mini- journal of record for inflated research and personalities. mini-AIR is an electronic publication, available over the Internet, free of charge. We publish approximately 12 issues per year. To subscribe, send a brief E-mail message to: [email protected] The body of your message should contain ONLY the words SUBSCRIBE MINI-AIR MARIE CURIE You may substitute your own name for that of Madame Curie.
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