Monday, October 3, 2011

The 2011 IgNobel Prizes

As we start to get the announcements of the 2011 Nobel Prize winners, they were once again beaten to the punch by the 2011 IgNobel Prizes. The IgNobels are given for the stranger side of science, the studies that make you laugh and then make you think. Here are a few of this year's "winners".
  • You have heard yawning is contagious, right? That may only apply to humans. The Physiology prize went to a team that found no evidence that yawning is contagious in the red footed tortoise.
  • The Biology prize was given for discovering that male buprestids (a type of beetle) mistake certain beer bottles for female beetles for mating purposes.
  • For track and field fans, the physics prize was given for discovering why discus throwers get dizzy but not hammer throwers even though both events involve the participant spinning.
  • The Mathematics prize was a joint prize given to many people who made failed doomsday predictions.
  • The Peace Prize was given to the Mayor of Vilnius who showed that the problem of illegally parked cars can be solved by running them over with a tank (the video of this went viral).

Be sure to check out the complete list of winners. You can even download a copy of the program given out at the ceremony. They usually post video of the ceremony a week in a week or so. Science Friday airs highlights of the show the Friday after Thanksgiving. The ceremony includes a mini-opera (This year "Chemist in a Coffee Shop"), Win a Date with a Nobel Laureate, the 24/7 lectures an a little girl who makes sure no one gets long winded with their acceptance speeches (a surprisingly large percentage of the honorees show up!)

Oh, and it's not too early to start nominating people for next year's awards!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.


kkdither said...

I can't speak for the red footed tortoise, but I'm pretty sure that I used to be able to make my dog yawn by yawning in front of her.

OrbsCorbs said...

Why test only the red footed tortoise? What about all the other tortoises? Discrimination!

The Mayor of Vilnius is a hero of mine after that video.

Anonymous said...

Did the Thinker fall off his pedestal, or is he going to light a fart?