Improbable Research

A link was forwarded to me a couple of days ago to a blog post called ‘Nutty professors‘. This accidentally reminded me that I hadn’t checked out the list of the Ig Nobel Prize winners of 2006. The winners include:

  • Acoustics: D. Lynn Halpern of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Brandeis University, and Northwestern University, Randolph Blake of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University and James Hillenbrand of Western Michigan University and Northwestern University for conducting experiments to learn why people dislike the sound of fingernails scraping on a blackboard.
  • Mathematics: Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of photographs must be taken to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed.
  • Physics: Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, for their insights into why, when dry spaghetti is bent, it often breaks into more than two pieces.

    I simply can’t believe no one hadn’t looked at such important stuff before these people. As the organiser of the awards, Improbable Research, puts it, “Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK”. A complete list of all the award recipients can be found here.


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