Cambridge, MA--In an atmosphere akin to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show for intellectuals," the eighth annual Ig Nobel prizes were bestowed at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), a technology-humor (no oxymoron intended) publication. The awards salute "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced." Several real-life Nobel Laureates were on hand to present the awards, however, several winners "could not or would not attend," according to AIR editor Marc Abrahams.
The atmosphere was filled with excitement--not to mention audience-aimed paper airplanes, wads of duct tape, and laser-pointer beams unceremoniously illuminating Nobel Laureates' posteriors--as Abrahams announced the awardees. Here, within limits of taste, are some of the winners:
- Safety Engineering: Troy Hurtubise, North Bay, Ontario, Canada, "for developing, and personally testing, a suit of armor impervious to grizzly bears." Don't feed (or bother) the animals!
- Peace: Prime Ministers Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, "for their aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs."
- Chemistry: Jacques Benveniste of France, "for his homeopathic discovery that not only does water have memory, but that the information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the Internet."
- Science Education: Dolores Krieger, New York University, "for demonstrating the merits of therapeutic touch, a method by which nurses manipulate the energy fields of ailing patients by carefully avoiding physical contact."
- Statistics: Jerald Bain, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto, and Kerry Siminoski, University of Alberta, Canada, "for their carefully measured report, 'The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size.' " Conclusion: only a slight correlation.
- Physics: Deepak Chopra, La Jolla, CA (it figures), "for his interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness."
- Economics: Richard Seed, Chicago, IL, "for his efforts to stoke up the world economy by cloning himself and other human beings."
For more improbable information, visit the AIR website: www.improbable.com