Friday, October 06, 2006

Time for the Ig Nobel Prizes

The Ig Nobels are given each year for scientific (or kind of scientific) research that "cannot or should not be repeated." The prizes have been handed out at a Harvard University ceremony every year since 1991. Some people have traveled from other nations to accept their Igs, which are handed out by real Nobel laureates. (As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.) 2006 Igs include an award for figuring out why we hate the noise of fingernails scraping on a blackboard. Another went to Harry Stapleton for inventing the Mosquito "teenager repellent" device, which emits annoying noise at a frequency teens can hear but most adults can't. Then there was Dr. Ivan Schwab, who figured out why woodpeckers don't get headaches. This is no doubt of great interest to the Bayer Aspirin people, whose sales to woodpeckers have been far short of projections. There are times science could definitely use a dose of humor, and the Annals of Improbable Research, which hands out the Ig Nobels, definitely does its part.

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