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Nobel, Schnobel, Ig Nobel… October 6, 2006

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Uncategorized.

Yesterday the infamous Ig Nobel awards were handed out. Here are some of them:

ACOUSTICS — D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand, for their experiments on why people dislike the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

MATHEMATICS — Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to ensure nobody in a group photo has their eyes closed.

PHYSICS — Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, for their insights into why dry spaghetti often breaks into more than two pieces when bent.

CHEMISTRY — Antonio Mulet, Jose Javier Benedito, Jose Bon and
Carmen Rossello, for their study “Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature.”

What can I say? At least they are practical… I remember that a couple of years ago there was a geography prize awarded for disproving the common expression that “Kansas is as flat as a pancake” (it turns out that Kansas is actually flatter). Maybe the awardees are now trying to find restrictions on the use of the phrase “smooth as baby’s behind.” Although it would probably be an Ig Nobel prize in medicine…

P.S. Oh, yes, the biology one:

BIOLOGY — Bart Knols and Ruurd de Jong, for showing that female malaria mosquitoes are attracted equally to the smell of Limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.

I kinda suspected that that was true…



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