The Ig Nobel Prize is given annually by the Journal of Improbable Research to “celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology”.
From the BBC, whose favorite award was for the “gay bomb”:
2007 Ig Nobel Winners
Medicine – Brain Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK, and Dan Meyer for their probing work on the health consequences of swallowing a sword.
Physics – A US-Chile team who ironed out the problem of how sheets become wrinkled.
Biology – Dr Johanna van Bronswijk of the Netherlands for carrying out a creepy crawly census of all of the mites, insects, spiders, ferns and fungi that share our beds.
Chemistry – Mayu Yamamoto, from Japan, for developing a method to extract vanilla fragrance and flavouring from cow dung.
Linguistics – A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards.
Literature – Glenda Browne of Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word “the”, and how it can flummox those trying to put things into alphabetical order.
Peace – The US Air Force Wright Laboratory for instigating research and development on a chemical weapon that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among enemy troops.
Nutrition – Brian Wansink of Cornell University for investigating the limits of human appetite by feeding volunteers a self-refilling, “bottomless” bowl of soup.
Economics – Kuo Cheng Hsieh of Taiwan for patenting a device that can catch bank robbers by dropping a net over them.
Aviation – A National University of Quilmes, Argentina, team for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters to recover from jet lag.