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2011 Ignoble Awards!

  1. Sep 29, 2011 #1


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    Tonight, I mentioned the Ignobles in Random Thoughts But the entire list of winners is out now and I thought it deserved its own thread.

    And the winners, please!

    Physiology prize: Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber for determining that when a red-footed tortoise yawns, other tortoises don't yawn in response.

    Chemistry prize: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.

    Medicine prize: Mirjam Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop. and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder and Robert Feldman, Robert Pietrzak, David Darby and Paul Maruff for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.

    Psychology prize: Karl Halvor Teigen for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.

    Literature prize: John Perry for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important.

    Physics prize: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma, for determining why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't.

    Mathematics prize: Dorothy Martin (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping (who predicted the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on Oct. 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

    Peace prize: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.

    Public safety prize: John Senders for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2011 #2


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    <nitpick> Those are the Ig Nobel awards, named after Alfred's kid brother Ignatius who invented the wedgie. </nitpick>
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  4. Sep 29, 2011 #3
  5. Sep 29, 2011 #4


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  6. Sep 30, 2011 #5
    My alma mater. :)
  7. Sep 30, 2011 #6


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    "No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise".

    Wish I could do pointless research for a living! (jealous).

    The Peace Prize is well deserved too!
  8. Sep 30, 2011 #7
    Does anybody else yawn whenever they read the word "yawn?" Or is it just me? This thread is wearing me out.

  9. Sep 30, 2011 #8


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    Yaaaawn, Zzzzzzzzzz.
  10. Sep 30, 2011 #9

    Ben Niehoff

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    Hey, kudos to this guy! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to run over luxury cars with an armored tank.

    In LA, the BMW is the low end of the car spectrum. A good 30% of the population seems to drive BMWs, and they always drive with a sense of entitlement. I call them "bimwits".
  11. Sep 30, 2011 #10

    Alt text: "Police report three dozen cheerful bystanders, yet no one claims to have seen who did it."

  12. Sep 30, 2011 #11


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    (bolding mine)

    This was a great experiment! They could have made it better by having other test subjects apply electric shocks for each wrong answer, though.

    Only the first did what the paragraph claimed. People that are resisting the urge to urinate are more willing to accept the promise of better rewards later than smaller rewards instantly. This is valuable knowledge for a manager to know when hiring a new employee.

    The second test just proved that the more urgently a person has to urinate, the less they seem to care about memorizing idiotic lists. That's why they should have included some serious motivation to avoid wrong answers if they really wanted to measure cognitive ability.

    I wonder how Sybil would have done on the second test?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  13. Sep 30, 2011 #12


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    Ugh, I will never forget that scene.
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