Ig Nobel Prize Winners
The 2005 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on Thursday evening,
October 6, at the 15th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony,
at Harvard's Sanders Theatre. You can watch archived video
of the live webcast.
AGRICULTURAL HISTORY: James Watson of Massey University,
New Zealand, for his scholarly study, "The Significance
of Mr. Richard Buckley’s Exploding Trousers."
REFERENCE: "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley’s
Exploding Trousers: Reflections on an Aspect of Technological
Change in New Zealand Dairy-Farming between the World Wars,"
James Watson, Agricultural History, vol. 78, no. 3, Summer
2004, pp. 346-60.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: James Watson
PHYSICS: John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the
University of Queensland, Australia, for patiently conducting
an experiment that began in the year 1927 -- in which a glob
of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through
a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years.
REFERENCE: "The Pitch Drop Experiment," R. Edgeworth,
B.J. Dalton and T. Parnell, European Journal of Physics, 1984,
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: John Mainstone
MEDICINE: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, for inventing
Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which
are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.
REFERENCES: US Patent #5868140, and the book Going Going NUTS!,
by Gregg A. Miller, PublishAmerica, 2004, ISBN 1413753167.
ACCEPTING: "The winner was unable to travel, and deliverd
his acceptance speech via videotape."
LITERATURE: The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating
and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short
stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of
rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni
Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of
whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to
obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled
and which they would like to share with the kind person who
PEACE: Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University,
in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a
brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected
highlights from the movie "Star Wars."
REFERENCE: "Orthopteran DCMD Neuron: A Reevaluation of
Responses to Moving Objects. I. Selective Responses to Approaching
Objects," F.C. Rind and P.J. Simmons, Journal of Neurophysiology,
vol. 68, no. 5, November 1992, pp. 1654-66.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: Claire Rind
ECONOMICS: Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and
hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people DO get out of
bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: Gauri Nanda
CHEMISTRY: Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota
and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and
the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a careful experiment
to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people
swim faster in syrup or in water?
REFERENCE: "Will Humans Swim Faster or Slower in Syrup?"
American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal, Brian Gettelfinger
and E. L. Cussler, vol. 50, no. 11, October 2004, pp. 2646-7.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: Brian Gettelfinger and
BIOLOGY: Benjamin Smith of the University of Adelaide, Australia
and the University of Toronto, Canada and the Firmenich perfume
company, Geneva, Switzerland, and ChemComm Enterprises, Archamps,
France; Craig Williams of James Cook University and the University
of South Australia; Michael Tyler of the University of Adelaide;
Brian Williams of the University of Adelaide; and Yoji Hayasaka
of the Australian Wine Research Institute; for painstakingly
smelling and cataloging the peculiar odors produced by 131
different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.
REFERENCE: "A Survey of Frog Odorous Secretions, Their
Possible Functions and Phylogenetic Significance," Benjamin
P.C. Smith, Craig R. Williams, Michael J. Tyler, and Brian
D. Williams, Applied Herpetology, vol. 2, no. 1-2, February
1, 2004, pp. 47-82.
REFERENCE: "Chemical and Olfactory Characterization of
Odorous Compounds and Their Precursors in the Parotoid Gland
Secretion of the Green Tree Frog, Litoria caerulea,"
Benjamin P.C. Smith, Michael J. Tyler, Brian D. Williams,
and Yoji Hayasaka, Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol. 29, no.
9, September 2003.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: Ben Smith and Craig Williams
NUTRITION: Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats of Tokyo, Japan, for photographing
and retrospectively analyzing every meal he has consumed during
a period of 34 years (and counting).
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL CEREMONY: Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats
FLUID DYNAMICS: Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International
University Bremen, Germany and the University of Oulu , Finland;
and Jozsef Gal of Loránd Eötvös University,
Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate
the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed
in their report "Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh
-- Calculations on Avian Defaecation."
PUBLISHED IN: Polar Biology, vol. 27, 2003, pp. 56-8.
ACCEPTING: The winners were unable to attend the ceremony
because they could not obtain United States visas to visit
the United States. Dr. Meyer-Rochow sent an acceptance speech
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