Did you know that your brainwave would measure differently when you chew different flavors of gum? And that if trained, pigeons can tell the difference between an original Picasso to a Monet? Moreover, did you know that the people who discovered these notable achievements have received an Ig Nobel Prize?
The Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded every year to research in the fields of science, medicine, and technology that have made people laugh and then made them think. In other words, the Ig Nobel winners are responsible for creating the most ridiculous and unnecessary studies in their respective fields.
However, the Ig Nobel Prizes are not a laughing matter. A real Nobel Laureate selects the nominees and presents the award to the genuine researchers in a ceremony that takes place every year at Harvard University, usually around the same time when the prestigious Nobel Prizes are announced.
The first Ig Nobel Prizes ceremony took place in 1991. Then, only three prizes were awarded for achievements that cannot, or should not, be reproduced. Since then, dozens of researchers from different fields of knowledge and from different parts of the world were awarded for their forgettable achievements. Here you can read about some of them.
1) In 1991, Robert Klark Graham, was awarded for developing a sperm bank that accepts donations only from Nobel Prize winners and Olympians.
2) The 1996 prize was shared between two Norwegian professors who had investigated the influence of ale, garlic, and sour cream on the appetite of leeches.
3) In 1997, three different professors from three different countries were awarded for measuring brainwave patterns while people chewed different flavors of gum.
4) In 2005, a large group of professors and representatives of the perfume industry were awarded for cataloging the specific odors produced by 131 different species of frogs in a state of stress.
1) In 1992, a group of Japanese researchers were awarded for coming to the conclusion that people who believe they have foot odor are right about it while people who do not, are also right about it.
2) In 1996, executives of tobacco companies received this award for testifying in front of the US Congress that nicotine is not an addictive substance.
3) In 2001, a Canadian professor was awarded for his study on injuries from falling coconuts.
4) In 2004, the prize was shared by a group of American psychiatrists who had studied the influence country music has on suicide.
5) In 2005, a Missouri inventor was awarded for creating artificial testicles for dogs.
1) The 1993 award was given to researches who came to the conclusion that people who claimed they were kidnapped by aliens from outer space were probably kidnapped by aliens from outer space.
2) The 1994 award was presented to the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, who has been investigating for 30 years the effects of punishing three million citizens whenever they spit, chew gum, or feed pigeons.
3) The 1995 prize was presented to a group of professors from the Keio University in Japan who had managed to train pigeons to discriminate between paintings by Picassos as against those by Monet.
1) The 1995 award was presented to the Taiwan National Parliament for claiming that politicians can gain more by punching, kicking and gouging each other than by waging war against other nations.
2) The 1996 prize was awarded to the President of France, Jacques Chirac, for celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima with atomic bomb tests in the Pacific.
3) In 2000, the British Royal Navy received this award for replacing the usage of live cannon shell with the usage of the shout Bang!
And the list can goes on. Ig Nobel Prizes have also been selected for weird and funny achievements in the fields of literature, economics, physics, nutrition, education, archeology, chemistry and more. Just look out for the upcoming 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes.