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Top Ten Ig Nobel Winners

Top Ten Ig Nobel Winners

As the excitement of Nobel season winds down for another year we take a look back at the best winners of Nobel's bastard little brother: Ig Nobel. Started in 1991, the Ig Nobels have been praising all that's stupid and pointless in the world of science with a healthy vigour. Here are ten of our favourite winners.

(click on the links for the inside story)

1992: Pop-up Penises (Art)
Awarded to Jim Knowlton for his ground-breaking anatomy poster "Penises of the Animal Kingdom" and to the US National Endowment for the Arts for encouraging a pop-up book version of the poster.

1993: Odds of Gorbachev the Antichrist (Maths)
Mavarick statistician, Robert W. Faid made the world breathe easier when he calculated the exact odds of Mikhail Gorbachev being the Antichrist as a mere 710,609,175,188,282,100 to 1.

2000: Levitating a sumo wrestler (Physics)
The wonders of international collaboration were on full show when Dutch and English combined to levitate a frog and a sumo wrestler using magnets. André Geim and Michael Berry took the award.

2001: Farty pants (Biology)
Flatulators the world over rejoiced at the news that Colorado-based Buck Weimer had invented airtight underwear with a charcoal filter that removed bad-smelling gases before they escape.

2003: Dirty ducks (Biology)
A just prize for the man who published possibly the weirdest scientific paper ever: the first case of homosexual necrophilia recorded in the mallard duck. C. W. Moeliker, we salute you.

2004: Country music induces suicide (Medicine)
If you're worried about global populations spiralling out of control then take a look at Steven Stack and James Gundlach's results: play lots of country music on the radio and suicide rates soar.

2005: Swimming through syrup (Chemistry)
Oh the nights we lay awake worrying about whether people could swim faster through syrup or water. Imagine then our joy when two academics found the answer: they reach the same speeds in both.

2005: The pressure of poo (Fluid dynamics)
When Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow and József Gál published "Pressures produced when penguins poo - Calculations on avian defecation", Ig Nobel glory was all but a certainty. And rightly so.

2006: A bum cure for hiccups (Medicine)
Two separate research groups were awarded the prize for (somehow) discovering that a finger up the bum can cure persistent hiccups. The only side effect being the patient's eyes popping out with shock.

2007: Military researches gay bomb (Aviation)
They kept it hush hush for a few years, but their little secret was always going to come out in the end - the US military had spent years trying to build a bomb that would turn the enemy homosexual.

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04 Aug 2011
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