The Ig Nobel Prizes

A function of the journal Annals of Improbable Research, the Ig Nobel Prizes are the scientific equivalent of This is True: they “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” The 16th annual awards, for instance, were just given. The 2006 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Howard Stapleton for his invention of the electromechanical teenager repellant — a device that makes annoying noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults. The Mathematics prize was awarded to Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed. All 16 years’ worth are listed. Fun stuff.

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