Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Announcing the 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes winners

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The ceremony was webcast. Here’s video of the entire ceremony, and a list of the winners:

For links to the prize-winning studies, see the list of all past (and new!) Ig Nobel Prize winners. The new winners are:

MEDICINE PRIZE [USA] — Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.

REFERENCE: “Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster,” Marc A. Mitchell, David D. Wartinger, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 116, October 2016, pp. 647-652.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Dave Wartinger

 

ANTHROPOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, ROMANIA, DENMARK, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, UK, INDONESIA, ITALY] — Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.

REFERENCE: “Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors,” Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, Primates, vol. 59, no. 1, January 2018, pp 19–29.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc

 

BIOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, COLOMBIA, GERMANY, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND] — Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.

REFERENCE: “The Scent of the Fly,” Paul G. Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika A. Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, bioRxiv, no. 20637, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Peter Witzgall

 

CHEMISTRY PRIZE [PORTUGAL] — Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.

REFERENCE: “Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces,” by Paula M. S. Romão, Adília M. Alarcão and César A.N. Viana, Studies in Conservation, vol. 35, 1990, pp. 153-155.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video.

 

MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.”

REFERENCE: “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope,” Akira Horiuchi and Yoshiko Nakayama, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, vol. 63, No. 1, 2006, pp. 119-20.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Akira Horiuchi

 

LITERATURE PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, EL SALVADOR, UK] — Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, for documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual.

REFERENCE: “Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products,” Alethea L. Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, Interacting With Computers, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp. 27-46.

WHO PLANS TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY: Thea Blackler

 

NUTRITION PRIZE [ZIMBABWE, TANZANIA, UK] — James Cole, for calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.

REFERENCE: “Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic,” James Cole, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 44707, April 7, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: James Cole

 

PEACE PRIZE [SPAIN, COLOMBIA] — Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar, for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.

REFERENCE: “Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment,” Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge and Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, vol. 1, no. 12017, pp. 1-7.

REFERENCE: “La Justicia en el Tráfico: Conocimiento y Valoración de la Población Española” [“Justice in Traffic: Knowledge and Valuation of the Spanish Population”)], F. Alonso, J. Sanmartín, C. Calatayud, C. Esteban, B. Alamar, and M. L. Ballestar, Cuadernos de Reflexión Attitudes, 2005.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Francisco Alonso

 

REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE PRIZE [USA, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, INDIA, BANGLADESH] — John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau, for using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly—as described in their study “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps.”

REFERENCE: “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps,” John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michael Boileau, Urology, vol. 15, 1980, pp. 171-172.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michel Boileau

 

ECONOMICS PRIZE [CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, USA] — Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.

REFERENCE: “Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice,” Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping

Watch The 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony live!

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Below, please find and enjoy the live stream of this year’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, held as usual at Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre. If you begin playing the video before 5:30 PM Eastern, you will see a helpful countdown to the beginning of the ceremony.

For further information about this year’s ceremony, visit the ceremony’s dedicated page.

News roundup (except in Boston): Ig Nobel Prizes Tonight!

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

It’s news everywhere—except in Massachusetts, where it happens.

The 28th First annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happens tonight, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (near Boston), USA. News organizations — everything from the New York Times to the Daily Mail, are alerting their readers to the coming news. TV network news crews are coming from Japan, Russia, and elsewhere, as are the major news wire services, to cover the ceremony.

It’s news everywhere—except locally. No major Boston area newspaper, TV, or radio news organization is going to cover or (probably) even mention the Ig Nobel Prizes. This continues a tradition from most of the 28 years the ceremony has been in existence.

If you have friends in the Boston area, likely they are not aware that the Ig Nobel Prizes exist, or that the event happens locally. If you love your Boston area friends, perhaps you will do them the kindness of alerting them.

FIRST EVER VIOLIN-TESLA COIL DUET!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Announcement by the Harvard Physics Department:

FIRST EVER VIOLIN-TESLA COIL DUET!
Instrumentalist, singers, scientists, techies, and at least one Nobel Laureate gathered yesterday in the physics department’s SciBox to rehearse before the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, which will be held in Sanders Theatre on Thursday, September 13….

 

“The Duck Guy” in German—A Book for All Ages

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Today is publication day for the German edition of Kees Moeliker’s Tell-All-About-The-Duck book. As you probably know, Kees was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, for his research study “The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos.” This nifty video shows Kees gamely talking about it in German, rather than his native Dutch.

The Original Dutch title is De Eendenman. The German edition, is called Der Entenmann: Von Spatzenklöten, aussterbenden Filzläusen und nekrophilen Enten. Mysteriöse Todesfälle aus dem Tierreich. If you prefer  numbers, you’ll note that the ISBN is 978-3841906106.

The book’s name translates, into English, as “The Duck Guy.” If you prefer English, you will have to wait until some sensible, greedy book publisher wises up and asks Kees to do an English language edition. In the meantime, you can see and hear Kees telling the basic story of the duck, in this TED Talk (which you can also find by Googling the four words “TED Talk dead duck”):

Kees Moeliker, an ornithologist, is director of the natural history museum in Rotterdam. You are always welcome to visit him and the preserved remains of one of the ducks, at the museum. The most fun time to visit, of course, in any year on June 5, when the museum and the city of Rotterdam celebrate Dead Duck Day, on the anniversary of the incident, involving two ducks and a glass wall, that led to all this.

UPDATE: Kees interviewed on the DAS! TV program, September 7, 2018

UPDATE: “Die tote Ente ist immer dabei“, Spiegel, September 7, 2018

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