2007 Ig Nobel Winners

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.

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  1. "Cassandra"

    Yves…You seem to have left Finance off the (ig) Nobel list, might I make some suggestions:

    * Brian Hunter for his contribution to exploring the limits of the joint effects upon hedge fund solvency of position concentration, leverage and public knowledge of one’s speculative position.

    * PBoC for their contributions in researching the global financial and political-economic externalities of neutering interest rates in the world’s largest bond market.

    * Brad Morrice & New Century for their contributions to studying the relationship betweeen outright fraud, willfull neglect, and an absurd business model upon their financial solvency and the patience of their creditors.

    * Dr Mark Carhart (fmrly of USC) & Ray Iwanowski of GS for their fine studies in highly-leveraged, FX carry trades (particularly with high pari-passu and high correlation to changes in credit-risk and global liquidity) and how to classify said speculative punts as low-risk arbitrage pursuits.

    * BoJ Gov Fukui for his stellar research on the effects of long and pointless lunches with “old friends” upon his institution’s nearZIRP monetary stance.

    * Tom Hudson (of Pirate Capital) for his perceptive work studying the impacts of Activist Allocators’ redemption behaviour upon an Activist Fund.

    * Moody’s for practical experiments in testing the limits of compromised and bogus research upon consumers gullibility.

    I am sure there are more, but it’s a start…

  2. Yves Smith


    The list is great, but why should Ig Nobel have all the fun? Maybe it’s time to inaugurate the Augustus Melmotte {or pick your favorite financier] Applied Finance award….

    Alan Greenspan gets a lifetime achievement award in behavioral finance for: groundbreaking work in exploring the efficacy of various methods of inducing investor responses; experiments to determine whether repeating counterfactual accounts of history can induce false memories (I am certain this list could be exanded)

    Ralph Cioffi in testing the riskiness of leverage on portfolios of CDOs and the tracking error in the ABX

    Warren Spector for disproving the thesis that performance in competitive card games is a proxy for success on Wall Street

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