Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The rich, unplumbed depths of Science

It's amazing what you can get research grants for, if you phrase the proposal juuuust right. I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 IgNobel Prizes, for actual research that makes Scientific Progress go "boink".
Highlights from the Improbable Research site:

PHYSICS PRIZE. Dorian Raymer of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and Douglas Smith of the University of California, San Diego, USA, for proving mathematically that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE. Sharee A. Umpierre of the University of Puerto Rico, Joseph A. Hill of The Fertility Centers of New England (USA), Deborah J. Anderson of Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School (USA), for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong of Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang (all of Taiwan) for discovering that it is not.

LITERATURE PRIZE. David Sims of Cass Business School. London, UK, for his lovingly written study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations."


Anonymous BillT said...

ECONOMICS PRIZE. Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that a professional lap dancer's ovulatory cycle affects her tip earnings.

Dang. I *never* get to do the good research.

12:28 PM, October 08, 2008  
Anonymous Cortillaen said...

On a whim, I did a quick search for a certain circular device often invoked against over-complication. I didn't honestly expect to find it, but...

Awarded jointly to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, for patenting the wheel in the year 2001, and to the Australian Patent Office for granting him Innovation Patent #2001100012.

They even still have the patent application on file:

I think I have a new place to go whenever I need to reaffirm humanity's general insanity.

12:58 PM, October 09, 2008  

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