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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

2012 Ig Nobel Prize Winners List

By September 21, 2012

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2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (Anne Helmenstine)

I had the best time at the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony! If you ever get the chance to attend, the experience is beyond awesome. The 2012 theme was "The Universe". The photo, taken during the Robert Kirshner's Keynote Address, shows his pie chart of the universe. Yes, that is a real pumpkin pie. Human Spotlight Katrina Rosenberg assisted with the presentation.

Here is a breakdown of the winner of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes:

Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan from The Netherlands and Tulio Guadalupe from Peru won for research indicating that "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller." There was a mock-up of the Eiffel Tower at the ceremony. I could not tell if the model seemed smaller when I leaned to the left as opposed to the right.

The Russian SKN Company won the Peace Prize for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds. I want to know these people better...

Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada of Japan won for creating the SpeechJammer. This is a machine that disrupts a person's speech by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay. There was an extremely cool demonstration involving a Nobel laureate and a Shakespeare reading.

U.S. scientists Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford won the Ig Nobel Neuroscience award for revealing brain researchers, using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere -- even in a dead salmon. The goal was to use humor and possibly humiliation to get researchers to apply statistics in a meaningful fashion. I believe they succeeded. Sadly, salmon lost their lives to achieve this goal.

Johan Pettersson (Sweden and Rwanda) solved the puzzle of why your blonde hair might turn green in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden. The solution involved taking cold showers, so I imagine many people have green hair in this community.

The U.S. Government General Accountability Office won this award for reporting about reports about reports. No one appeared to accept the prize.

U.S. researchers Joseph Keller and Raymond Goldstein and Patrick Warren and Robin Ball (UK) earned the prize for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. Basically, they explained why ponytails swish from side to side even though joggers bounce up and down.

U.S. scientists Rouslan Krechetnikov and Hans Mayer won the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing. Specifically, they described the events that occur when a person walks and carries a cup of coffee.

Frans de Waal (The Netherlands) and Jennifer Pokorny (United States) discovered chimpanzees can identify other chimps from photographs of their rears.

Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti from France earned the Ig Nobel prize in medicine educating doctors performing colonoscopies how to minimize the chance of causing explosions. Who knew you could explode during this procedure?

2011 Ig Nobel Prizes - Why People Sigh
2010 Ig Nobel Prize - Oil and Water Do Not Mix
2009 Ig Nobel Prize Winners - Cows With Names Give More Milk
2008 Ig Nobel Prizes - String Inevitably Ties Itself in Knots


September 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm
(1) abubaker says:

actually we expect the medicine one will in save surgical organs transfer, (without compatibility drugs injection)

September 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm
(2) Ramachandran says:

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