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The Ig Nobels

Every October, announcements are made revealing the year's Nobel Prize winners. Not as well known (but possibly of moderate importance to a few) is the release around the same time of the names of Ig Nobel Prize winners.

The magazine the Annals of Improbable Research first organized these awards in 1991 to honor "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative—and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology." Among this year's winners were researchers who studied the side effects of sword swallowing (prize in medicine), the science of how sheets become wrinkled (physics), and the possibility of using a net to catch bank robbers (economics).

Previous recipients have included 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" (literature, 2005); the Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain for its discovery of how tap water can be converted into Dasani (chemistry, 2004); and the inventor of karaoke (peace, 2004).

A full list of winners and links to their research can be found at improbable.com/ig, the website for the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) magazine
Nobel Foundation

Image: Poster advertising this year's Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, the theme of which was chicken.


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