Friday, October 06, 2006

Ig Nobel Prizes

Since we have been discussing the impending Nobel Prizes, the "Ig Nobel" Prizes are also given out each year, and they are a lot less prestigious, but also a lot more entertaining. They are given out for research that is unusual and/or humorous, and as I quoted last year on this blog, for research that "cannot or should not be reproduced."

A list of this year's winners are listed here.

A couple of the more unusual ones:

ORNITHOLOGY: Ivan R. Schwab, of the University of California Davis, and the late Philip R.A. May of the University of California Los Angeles, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don't get headaches.

CHEMISTRY: Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito and José Bon of the University of Valencia, Spain, and Carmen Rosselló of the University of Illes Balears, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for their study "Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature."


Anonymous said...

These prizes can be considered trivial and unimportant, but they can serve some purpose. Some of the research is a little obscure like the ultrasonic velocity cheddar cheese, but the woodpecker one is a question that is pondered but no one has ever put forth the effort to make a conclusion. And maybe some of these random discoveries were important to others and that's why they took the time to deduct a final conclusion. Science is fully personal and some discoveries are greater than others, but it's all in what someone believes in. In the field of science, it takes all sorts of experiments and discoveries to come closer to greater knowledge: no matter how trivial they maybe.

-Chris Templin

Anonymous said...

I disagree with what Chris said. The point that he makes that silly experiments can produce new innovations in the scientific world, but I do not see whether or not a woodpecker gets a headache or not going to be one of those field changing discoveries. This award should not exist because it encourages people to conduct these silly experiments, when they could be allocating their time towards a much more productive sturdy such as global warming, or contributing towards the research for a cure for cancer. There are so many more beneficial experiments for science, that these should not be encouraged by this prize.