What is Ig Noble?
I have huge respect for the Nobel Prize. Ideas can and do change the world. I’ve visited the Nobel Centre Museum in Stockholm and I’ve marvelled at what human beings are capable of. The achievements are huge.
But there is another Nobel prize that you may not have heard about called the Ig Nobel. This is a parody of the Nobel Prize and it awarded every autumn to celebrate achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK.
Created in 1991 by Marc Abrahams, the prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.
For example, in 2018 the Medicine Prize as awarded to Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.
The Biology Prize was awarded to Paul Becher et al for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.
And how about this one for the Literature Prize: Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products.
It might be easy to laugh at what you see and could make you think “What a waste of time and money!” but who decides what is and isn’t important?
Over the years there have been some incredibly sounding achievements. Find all the past winners here.
Thought-provoking and entertaining books by Marc Abrahams include This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, And Other Wtf Research and This is Improbable Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors and More WTF Research.
The 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen in September, 2019, at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.