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Health

Dizzy Discus Throwers, Horny Beer-Bottle Beetles, and the Wasabi Alarm Clock: the 2011 Ig Nobels

DiscoblogBy Veronique GreenwoodSeptember 30, 2011 9:07 PM

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_wu19NA4yo&feature=player_profilepage#t=1676s Those classy folks at the Annals of Improbable Research are at it again. Last night, they announced the 2011 winners of some of the most coveted awards in science: the Ig Nobels. You should watch last night's ceremony in its entirety, but here are (drumroll) the winners:

  • In Psychology...Karl Halvor Teigen for his work in contemplation of the human sigh and its purpose in his paper "Is a Sigh 'Just a Sigh'? Sighs as Emotional Signals and Responses to a Difficult Task."

  • In Literature...John Perry for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, summed up by the Ignobel site as: "To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important." See more in his article How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done.

  • In Biology...Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz for their work observing that a certain species of beetle will attempt to mate with a specific variety of Australian beer bottles, called "stubbies." See Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbies for Females (Coleoptera) for more.

  • In Physics...Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru, and Herman Kingma for elucidating the cause of dizziness in discus throwers in their paper Dizziness in Discus Throwers is Related to Motion Sickness Generated While Spinning.

  • In Mathematics...summed up best by the Ignobel site: "Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of KOREA (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of UGANDA (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations."

  • The Peace Prize...Arturas Zuokos, mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for his well-publicized solution for dealing with illegally parked Mercedes. In his words: "It seems that a tank is the best solution."

  • The Public Safety Prize...John Senders for his series of groundbreaking 1967 safety experiments in which a person driving at high speed is repeatedly blinded by a visor flipping down over his face. And it's all here on video.

Congratulations to the winners! We hope you'll enjoy your Periodic Table table trophies. Our own experiments with half-drunk cups of coffee and the native fauna of magazine offices were not enough to garner nomination this time around, but we'll just try harder.

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