The Igs are coming!

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Keeping on the Nobel path from this morning, it's just about time for the 16th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Awards. The ceremony will take place this Thursday, the 5th of October, at the Sanders Theater, Harvard University.

You might recall the Ig Nobels from a post I wrote some moons ago about an opera called Atom & Eve, written by Marc Abrahams, who also organizes the annual award ceremonies. As Abrahams says on his website, Improbable.com, an Ig Nobel "winner has done something that first makes people LAUGH, then makes them THINK."

For instance, some winners from last year include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 the workday.
  • 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?

I think they're pretty darn hilarious and will be tuning in for this year's live webcast of the ceremony on Thursday, beginning at 7:15 pm U.S. Eastern time, over at Improbable.com. Go check them out!

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