Ignoble Awards 2011

The 2011 Ig Nobel Award Winners

The annual Ig Nobel award ceremony took place at Harvard recently (late September) and for many scientists around the world it’s a highlight of the year. The Nobel parody awards prizes to serious scientific studies about, well, whacky and offbeat things. This year’s crop of winners include the inventors of a wasabi alarm clock, a study that shows we make better decisions when we have to pee, and the discovery of a beetle that likes to mate with a certain brand of Australian beer bottle.

The awards cover physiology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, literature, biology, physics, mathematics, peace, and public safety, just like the real Nobel Awards, and the ceremony (held at Harvard University) is presided over by real Nobel winners.

This year brings an interesting twist, in that the mathematics prize was awarded to non-scientists; specifically, it was awarded to the folks who vehemently predicted the end of the world, due to spurious mathematics.

My favourites for 2011:

The Literature Prize went to Prof John Perry of Stanford University, US, 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.

The Peace Prize to 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 armoured tank.

Read more about the winners at the Improbable Research site.