The Ig Nobel Awards
[The Ig Nobel awards, a spoof of the Nobel Awards, have been presented in the
U.S. The annual awards, for people whose achievements "cannot or should not be
reproduced", were presented at a spoof ceremony at Harvard University. They are
handed out by the science/humour magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, to
real academics and others whose work might strike people's funny bones. Among
the winners were…]
• A University College London team who showed the brains of London taxi drivers were different from average people, because they become enlarged in the zone associated with navigation;
• A Japanese researcher was honoured for chemistry for his study of a bronze statue that failed to attract pigeons;
• Kees Moeliker, of Natuurmuseum Rotterdam in the Netherlands, won the biology prize for being the first scientist to record homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck;
• The engineering award went to the late John Paul Stapp, the late Edward A Murphy Jr and George Nichols, for jointly giving birth in 1949 to Murphy's Law - the basic principle that "if there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, someone will do it";
• An Australian team won the physics award for their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces", published in Applied Ergonomics.
This year’s Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Indian Lal Bihari for leading an active life even though he had been declared legally dead. The organizers said he'd waged "a lively posthumous campaign" against bureaucracy and greedy relatives. He was also the man behind the Association of Dead People.