2011 Ig Nobel Prize Winners Announced
Posted on September 30, 2011
The winners of the 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes have been announced. The humorous awards honor unusual scientific research. They are awarded annually by the science humor magazine, Annals of Improbable Research. A video of this year's ceremony can be found here. Among this year's winners are research that discovered a species of beetle is sexually attracted to a specific type of Australian beer bottle. Another winner was for the invention of a wasabi alarm. People who failed to predict the end of the world were honored with a Mathematics Prize. Awards were also given for research involving sighing, procrastination, urinating and hammer throwing.
Here is a list of the winners:
- Physiology Prize: Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber for their study "No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise."
- Chemistry Prize: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of Japan, for inventing the wasabi alarm.
- Medicine Prize: Mirjam Tuk, Debra Trampe, Luk Warlop, Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder, Robert Feldman, Robert Pietrzak, David Darby and Paul Maruff for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things - but worse decisions about other kinds of things - when they have a strong urge to urinate. The research paper is located here.
- Psychology Prize: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, Norway, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh. The research paper is called, "Is a Sigh 'Just a Sigh'? Sighs as Emotional Signals and Responses to a Difficult Task."
- Literature Prize: John Perry of Stanford University, USA, for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important. He published an article called, How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done.
- Biology Prize: Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle. The researchers found the beetle (pictured above) found the beer bottles irresistible. Ignoring the females, the males mounted or tried to climb up the bottles, refusing to leave. The lovestruck beetles fried to death in the sun, were eaten by hungry ants or had to be physically removed by the researchers.
- Physics Prize: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma for determining why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't. Their research paper was called, "Dizziness in Discus Throwers is Related to Motion Sickness Generated While Spinning."
- Mathematics Prize: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of KOREA (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of UGANDA (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.
- Peace Prize: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank. See video below.
- Public Safety Prize: John Senders of the University of Toronto, Canada, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him. You can see a video about this experiment on YouTube.
Photo: Darryl Gwynne