Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

“Neuroscientist honored with Ig Nobel outshines laureates”

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Arizona Daily Star reports:

At UA, neuroscientist honored with Ig Nobel outshines laureates

Neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire seemed surprised when she was introduced Thursday as the most famous member of a panel that included three Nobel-Prize-winning scientists.

Maguire, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2003 for a study that measured the brain sizes of taxicab drivers during their three-year “knowledge training” required to navigate the 25,000 streets and myriad monuments of central London.

She drew more public attention than the three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 2014, said Carol Barnes, head of the University of Arizona’s McKnight Brain Institute, who introduced the quartet of neuroscientists to the press before a public talk here.

Maguire’s research, which measured changes in the size and composition of the hippocampus during taxi-driver training, fits in nicely with the work of her Nobel-Prize-winning colleagues, who discovered the “grid” and “place” cells that allow rats to form a mental map.

Ig Nobel winner Eleanor Maguire, right, speaks during a forum with students at the University of Arizona. Renowned brain scientists — from left, Edvard Moser, May-Britt Moser, John O’Keefe and Maguire — are visiting the UA campus to speak about their careers. Photo by Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star.

Ig Nobel winner Eleanor Maguire, right, speaks during a forum with students at the University of Arizona. Renowned brain scientists — from left, Edvard Moser, May-Britt Moser, John O’Keefe and Maguire — are visiting the UA campus to speak about their careers. Photo by Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star.

John O’Keefe, professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Anatomy, University College London, located the “place” cells in the tiny, seahorse-shaped hippocampus.

May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, both of the University of Oslo, found “grid” cells in the nearby entorhinal cortex….

O’Keefe said the thrill of breakthrough research and the occasional Nobel Prize were not everyday reality. “Most of it is a really hard slog. You have to be good at what you want to do.”

The four scientists were invited by Nadel, Barnes and Mary Peterson, chair of the UA’s School of Mind, Brain and Behavior, to help inaugurate the new multidisciplinary Center for Innovation in Brain Science.

BONUS (kinda-sorta related): Several other Ig Nobel Prize winners are touring Europe, in the 2015 Ig Nobel Euro Tour. Tonight they will do a show at the University of Copenhagen. Monday, they will do two shows in Stockholm, at the Karolinska Institute and then at the Boulevardteatern.

Ig Nobel shows in Aarhus (Wed, Thurs) and Copenhagen (Fri)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

denmark-mapThe 2015 Ig Nobel EuroTour descends on Denmark this week. Here are the details:

  • AARHUS UNIVERSITY, Denmark, Aarhus. The Ceremonial Hall. Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 & 26, evening. (TICKETS). (NOTE: There are also optional events immediately before and after each Aarhus show. BEFORE the show, there is a BUFFET —separate tickets are required for the buffet. AFTER the show, there is a receptionfree, no tickets required — for every one, at the Steno Science Museum.) Featuring: Marc Abrahams; Dr. Nakamats (Ig Nobel winner, photographing every meal he has consumed over a period of 43 years); Hynek Burda (Ig Nobel winner, Documenting that when dogs defecate and urinate, they prefer to align their body axis with Earth’s north-south geomagnetic field lines); Jaroslav Flegr (Ig Nobel winner, Is it mentally hazardous for a human to own a cat); Eigel Reimers (Ig Nobel winner, Testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears); and a special appearance by LFFFHCfS member Halfdan Skjerning and his beard. NOTE: The shows in Aarhus will be live-streamed to six towns in Jutland, Germany, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.
  • UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN, Denmark. Festsalen, Frue Plads 4, 1168 København. Friday, March 27, 7:00 pm. (TICKETS.) Featuring: Marc Abrahams; Dr. Nakamats (Ig Nobel winner, photographing every meal he has consumed over a period of 43 years); Hynek Burda (Ig Nobel winner, Documenting that when dogs defecate and urinate, they prefer to align their body axis with Earth’s north-south geomagnetic field lines); Jaroslav Flegr (Ig Nobel winner, Is it mentally hazardous for a human to own a cat); Eigel Reimers (Ig Nobel winner, Testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears)

BONUS: Dr. NakaMats discusses his ideas for better ideas

BONUS: The complete tour schedule (next week: Sweden).

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Ig Nobel Prize winner Lee Kuan Yew dies in Singapore

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew, who was awarded the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize for psychology, has died, say numerous press reports.

His Ig Nobel citation said that the prize honored: “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.”

Reuters reports about his death:

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and architect of the tiny city-state’s rapid rise from British military outpost to global trade and financial center, died on Monday aged 91….

Lee, a British-educated lawyer, is widely credited with building Singapore into one of the world’s wealthiest nations on a per capita basis with a strong, pervasive role for the state and little patience for dissent…. He advocated free-wheeling market capitalism while keeping tight control over social behavior, from banning chewing gum to caning those caught painting graffiti on public property.

Ig Nobel show at Imperial College London, Fri eve

Friday, March 20th, 2015

The 2015 Ig Nobel EuroTour descends Friday evening, March 20, on Imperial College. Here are details:

Tickets have been fully booked for a while now. But… there is always the chance that a few ticket holders will not turn up, freeing up their seats. So if you have not booked a ticket, you might want to take your chances and turn up fifteen minutes or so before the event begins, and perhaps, perhaps you will be able to get a ticket.

BONUS: Dr. NakaMats discusses his ideas for better ideas

BONUS: The complete tour schedule.

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Ig Nobel show at Nottingham Trent, Wed eve

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

The 2015 Ig Nobel EuroTour descends Wednesday evening, March 18, on Nottingham Trent University. Here are details:

  • NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY, Nottingham, UK. Newton Building,
    Goldsmith Street. Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 pm. (TICKETS.) Featuring: Marc Abrahams; Chris McManus (Ig Nobel winner, Scrotal asymmetry in ancient Sculpture and man); Richard Stephens (Ig Nobel winner, The effect of swearing on pain); Richard Webb (Tribute to John Hoyland, the father of Nominative Determinism); plus some dramatic improbable readings from bizarre, genuine scientific studies.

BONUS: The complete tour schedule.

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