Ig Nobel Prizes are handed out every year to reward scientists whose work first makes us laugh, then makes us think. As such they’re delightfully silly. Here are my favourite award winners for 2012.
My favourite Ig Nobel Prizes for 2012
A report about reports about reports…
The US Government’s Accountability Office won an award for Literature, with the prizewinner a “report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.” An exercise in non-communication if there ever was one, and a salutary lesson in the danger of disappearing up your own bureaucratic backside.
At the same time the not-so-coveted Ig Nobel prize for Anatomy went to a couple of researchers from Emory University. They’ve discovered that chimps can accurately pair up mug shots of their fellow chimps’ faces with photos of their bums, matching the right face to the right arse surprisingly often.
The lesson? While you can spend an age describing stuff in fine detail, sometimes pictures speak much louder and clearer than words. Recognising those times can make all the difference between marketing success and failure.
The Ig Nobel prize for Neuroscience went to a scientist who discovered a statistical quirk that allowed a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine to record a dead salmon’s mental activity. Which highlights the importance of never taking the results of any test at face value, instead questioning absolutely everything before coming to a conclusion.
Want to know more about the Ig Nobel prizes? Here’s a link: http://www.improbable.com/ig/