Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Will An Indian Win The Ig Nobel?

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Vasudevan Mukunth writes, in The Wire:

Will An Indian Win The Ig Nobel?
instead of endorsing the view that an Indian will a Nobel Prize by 2035, the Government of India should aspire to have an Indian win an Ig Nobel Prize within the next two decades if the intent is to target a prize at all.
Although there is an apparent sense of ridicule in the prizes’ premise, it is gentle and in fact uplifting. A government should aspire to help its country’s scientists win an Ig Nobel Prize because the government, at least some department of it, has tremendous influence on the national research culture and research priorities. In this framework, to win an Ig Nobel Prize would mean being able to work on what scientists deem worth their while. This in turn would require the presence of a research evaluation scheme that is fair, efficient and not very exacting, allowing scientists the time to work on projects that catch their fancy without consequence for their career advancement or other responsibilities.

Ig Nobel radio broadcast today

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Science Friday‘s annual Ig Nobel broadcast happens today. Ira Flatow, Charles Bergquist and the rest of the Science Friday team have edited the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony into a cornucopic radio hour. Listen on NPR stations, or listen on the web. Broadcast times vary (in many US east coast cities, the broadcast begins at 2 pm), so check with your station. (Science Friday is a two-hour program; the Ig will be the first of those hours.)
BONUS: Listen to archived SciFri Ig Nobel broadcasts from many past years.
BONUS BONUS: Read Steve Nadis’s diary account of the 2009 ceremony.

New mosquito book by Ig winner

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Bart Knols, who won the 2006 Ig Nobel biology prize, for ‘for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet’ recently wrote a book (in Dutch). It is titled ‘Mug’ and tells how mosquito’s have influenced the history of the world and how researchers, including himself, discovered their role in spreading horrible diseases.
The book contains a nice section about his Ig Nobel adventures in 2006, with a remarkable detail: Bart Knols is the only person who can claim to have won both a Nobel Prize and an Ig Nobel Prize. When he worked at the IAEA in 2005, the staff of that institution won the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Knols indeed holds both certificates.

Sanitizer study: Even docs ignore instructions

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Even in a medical building, despite fears of the flu, most patients—and most medical personnel, too—disregard instructions to use a hand-sanitizer station.
A new study [click on the image or click here to download a PDF] to be published in the Annals of Improbable Research, examined the hand-sanitizing behavior of patients and doctors who entered a New York-area medical building: Read the rest of this entry »

Ig Nobel radio broadcast this Friday

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, comes  Science Friday‘s annual Ig Nobel broadcast (highlights from the gala ceremony). Listen on NPR stations, or listen on the internet. In many US east coast cities, the Ig broadcast begins at 2 pm — BUT broadcast times vary, so check with your station. (Science Friday is a two-hour program; the Ig will be the first of those hours.)
Please spread the word! BONUS: Listen to archived SciFri Ig Nobel broadcasts from many past years.

Literary masters: Johnson Brown

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Someone whom we suspect is a co-winner of the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in literature has just sent us a bulk order for Ig Nobel-related books.
That 2005 prize was awarded to the Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters — General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others — each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.
Here is the message that has just now arrived here: Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with panda poo researcher

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Because hydrogen is an explosive gas, to do large-scale testing Taguchi needs to get permission from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. And to date, the agency has denied him that permission, citing as the reason: “We haven’t given such permission before.” However, with his Ig Nobel Prize, the professor hopes there will now be more chance of his discovery becoming widely known. To set that process in motion, on Oct. 3 he gave a five-minute presentation at an event titled “Ig Informal Lectures” that was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Feces from panda, and termites, have given us wondrous gifts Read the rest of this entry »

Double-duty bra inventor interview

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

KCAL-TV interviewed Elena Bodnar, inventor of what they call “the bra that could save your life”.
Dr. Bodnar was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize in public health. The interview delves into that experience, and into the bra’s internal workings.

Grizzly film about Ig winner now online

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Project Grizzly, the splendid National Film Board of Canada documentary about Ig Nobel Prize winner Troy Hurtubise, can now be watched online in its entirety. Troy was awarded the 1998 Ig Nobel Prize in safety engineering for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears. To watch the film, click on the image.

Fun fact #1: Coming to the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony in 1998 (and again when he returned to show off his anti-grizzly-bear suit-of-armor in 1999) Troy had adventures getting his suit through American customs. But he made it. See below for a photo of the 1998 ceremony.
Fun fact #2: Troy continued working on more advanced suits of armor, which led to many further adventures, none of which killed him.

Ig winner Thorvaldsson pens memoirs

Friday, November 6th, 2009

2009 Ig Nobel economics prize co-winner Armann Thorvaldsson has written a book about his experience. Called Frozen Assets, it is 576 pages long. The publisher says:

Iceland truly lived the boom and bust. Once a tiny country on the edge of Europe, in less than two decades it became a global financial powerhouse.This is the story of how one man, one bank and one country experienced and affected the course of world economic history. Armann Thorvaldsson, a former CEO at Kaupthing in the UK, tells the story…. As the boom got bigger, the Icelandic bankers worked and played hard with their international clients, including Gordon Ramsay, the Candy brothers, Mike Ashley and Robert Tchenguiz. Moving from Reykjavik to London, Monte Carlo and St Tropez, they seemed unstoppable.
Yet, when the bust came, even the most frantic attempts to save the bank were fruitless, leading to the total collapse of the Icelandic economy. Thorvaldsson’s reflections on exactly what happened and why, make compelling reading.

Thorvaldsson and the other directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks won their Ig 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 national economy.

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