Ig Nobels 2017: Weird and Wonderful Experiments

Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 11:39

At the 2017 Ig Nobels, held (Sept. 14) in the Sanders Theater at Harvard University, researchers representing five continents made an appearance to acknowledge the dubious achievement of acquiring an Ig Nobel.

At the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, laughter is an important part of the process, maybe not the scientific process, but the process of selecting the prizewinners, who pursued research topics that made people laugh, and then made them think, according to the Ig Nobel organizers.

Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobels and the editor of the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research," announced winners in 10 categories: Physics, Peace, Economics, Anatomy, Biology, Fluid Dynamics, Nutrition, Medicine, Cognition and Obstetrics.

Each winner received a coveted (and handcrafted) Ig Nobel statue topped with a red question mark, commemorating the year's theme of "Uncertainty." They also received 10 trillion dollars — Zimbabwean dollars, that is, delivered in a single bill and worth about 4 U.S. cents.

As an example, in this ceremony, the Cognition Prize went to Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi, and Salvatore Maria Aglioti, for demonstrating that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart visually. PHYSICS prize went to Marc-Antoine Fardin, for using fluid dynamics to probe the question 'Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?' ANATOMY prize went to James Heathcote, for his medical research study 'Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?'

The Ig Nobels were created in 1991 by Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of the Annals of Improbable Research and the master of ceremonies at all subsequent awards ceremonies. Awards were presented at that time for discoveries "that cannot, or should not, be reproduced". Ten prizes are awarded each year in many categories, including the Nobel Prize categories of physics, chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature, and peace, but also other categories such as public health, engineering, biology, and interdisciplinary research.


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