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Ig Nobel Awards

People who know me well will be aware that several times a month, during term time, I aim to attend the Portsmouth University Public Lecture series. I don’t go to all of the seminars, but only those which appeal, but over the years I have learned much and been entertained royally at this collection of fine speakers discussing interesting concepts. However, only rarely have I had such an amusing evening. Fun with a hard science centre.

Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes was presented by improbale.com, represented tonight on stage by Marc Abraham, editor of the Ig Nobel Times and three prize winners: Alex Ford, Illya van Beest and Richard Stevens.

The Ig Nobel ideal is perhaps best represented by Dr. Francis M Fesmire MD who won the award and very recently died for his paper Intractable Hiccups cured via digital rectal massage. Yes you did hear correctly – the best cure for intractable hiccups which was previously thought to be incurable, is… a finger up the fundament. Improbable in this sense just means not what you expect and, if possible, makes you laugh and then THINK.

    Some recent winning papers include:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder
  • Dung Beetles use the Milky Way for Navigation
  • Why onions make one cry – deep research into enzymes

I can strongly recommend the Annals of Improbable Research at improbable.com for further revelations but don’t think this is just esoteric research, a previous winning paper about the leeching of Prozac into river water and via drinking water into humans has just two weeks ago forced a bill to appear before Congress forcing the Pharmacutical Industry to pay for the clean-up operations across the United States. This is proper science, just with a fun edge to it.

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