The Ig Nobels

October 21, 2011

I am a few weeks late on this, but did anyone notice that the 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes were given out recently? These prizes, awarded each year in advance of the Nobel Prize announcements, acknowledge scientific research “that cannot, or should not, be reproduced”.

The prizes this year went to a remarkable set of studies, running the gamut from the yawning habits of tortoises to the mating habits of beetles. One research group discovered that spinning in circles can make people dizzy, and another found that ‘urge to void’ affects decision making. The Peace Prize went to the insane mayor of Vilnius, who has no patience with illegally parked cars.

See the full list of winners.

2 Responses to “The Ig Nobels”

  1. Janet Says:

    “PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, NORWAY, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.”

    During the polio epidemic it was discovered that people in iron lungs sometimes died for no discernible reason. My friend Barbara’s father researched this phenomenon and found that sighing was actually a necessary physiological reflex and these people were dying because their breathing was too regular, so he adjusted the iron lungs so that they had sighs built into the breathing pattern, and that solved the problem.


  2. cburrell Says:

    Very interesting, Janet. It is true that sometimes these Ig Nobel prizes go to work that actually does have a point to it, or that turns out later to have had a point. There is at least one instance of a person who won an Ig Nobel prize later going on to win the real Nobel prize (though not, I think, for exactly the same work).

    Anyway, I know I usually feel better after I sigh. That’s why I do it.

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