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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

2012 Ig Nobel Awards

By September 8, 2012

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An Ig Nobel Prize is like a Nobel Prize in that it honors scientific research, but different in that it recognizes significantly interesting, funny or bizarre research while the Nobel Prize recognizes research that made a significant positive impact on mankind. I would argue the Ig Nobel Prize is as important in its own way as the Nobel Prize because these awards raise public awareness and interest in science. The Ig Nobel Prizes educate while entertaining, causing people to think. Perhaps an Ig Nobel prize will lead someone to study science, work in the field or fund research. At the very least, it changes the way you look at the world. For example, who, after learning that certain Australian beetles mate with beer bottles, has ever viewed a beer or beetle quite the same way again? And then, there is the classic research into the effect of Coca Cola on sperm motility. The Ig Nobel Prizes are chock full of practical science, not just esoteric research.

The categories for the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize could be drawn from any of a variety of subjects. Previous prizes have been awarded in:

  • chemistry
  • physics
  • biology
  • engineering
  • math
  • psychology
  • peace
  • public safety
  • literature
  • medicine
  • physiology
  • economics
  • archaeology
  • veterinary medicine
Other areas of research also have been represented. It's always fun to see what categories the committee selects.

How To Watch the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will be Thursday, September 20, 7:30 pm at Harvard University. If you are looking for tickets to the event or information about parking or driving, the Improbable Research website can hook you up. You can watch the awards ceremony streaming live on the internet, too.

2011 Ig Nobel Awards
2010 Ig Nobel Awards
2009 Ig Nobel Awards


September 12, 2012 at 5:18 am
(1) Anand says:

Waiting eagerly for the show.. !!

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