Monday, October 25, 2010

Ig Nobel Prizes

Yeah, yeah, you know all about the Nobel Prizes awarded annually for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics. It really does benefit the world that Alfred Nobel wanted to be remembered for something good.

But, do you know about the Ig Nobel Prize? The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. According to the Annals of Improbable Research, the prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. Prizes have been given for notable discoveries such as perfecting a method to collect whale snot, treating symptoms of asthma with a roller-coaster ride, and confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

This year, graphene was the big event in physics. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the Nobel Prize for discovering graphene, the world's thinnest material. And Geim, a Russian-born physicist at the University of Manchester in England thus became the Very First Person to win not only the Nobel Prize, but also the Ig Nobel Prize--in 2000, for using magnets to levitate a frog.

Who says scientists have no sense of humor?

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