RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $6000Goal: $6000
Information icon.svg The 2018 moderator election has started! We are electing 6 moderators and 2 alternatives to serve in 2019. Nominate users here and read their campaign slogans here!

Ig Nobel Prize

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
A live frog is magnetically levitated, an experiment that earned Sir Andre Geim from the University of Nijmegen and Sir Michael Berry from University of Bristol the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in physics. Geim went on to win a "real" Nobel Prize in 2010.
The poetry of reality
Icon science.svg
We must know.
We will know.
A view from the
shoulders of giants.

The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the far more famous Nobel Prize. It is awarded to scientific achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think." The prize has been awarded annually since 1991, and honours achievements that are unusual or imaginative and that go on to spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

The awards ceremony is held in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, in October, just before the Nobel laureates are announced. They are organised by the magazine "Annals of Improbable Research."


The Ig Nobels are not restricted to specific categories, and in most years a total of 10 awards are handed out. In keeping with the spirit of the Nobel Prizes, some of the same categories are used, along with others, which may vary from year to year. The most commonly used award categories are Peace, Economics, Chemistry, Medicine, Physics, Literature and Biology. Other categories, which have been used on several occasions include Public Health, Mathematics, Nutrition, Art and Psychology.[1] Archaeology, Dentistry and Ornithology are other fields worthy of a mention.

When they first appeared, many of the awards had a hint of irony attached to them, such as Dan Quayle receiving the Education award, for "demonstrating, better than anyone else, the need for science education." The first peace prize was awarded to Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb and first champion of the "Star Wars" weapons system, for "his lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace as we know it."

Although in later years, the focus has been on genuine, albeit bizarre, achievements in their chosen fields, the Ig Nobels occasionally lapse back into irony, such as when Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, was awarded the mathematics prize in 2009 for "giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers — from very small to very big — by having his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollars (Z$100,000,000,000,000)." More recently, in 2015, the economics prize was awarded to the Bangkok Metropolitan Police of Thailand "for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes."[2]

As of 2017, Andre Geim is the only researcher to win both the Ig Nobel and the "real" Nobel Prize, having won the Ig Noble Prize in 2000 for levitating frogs over magnets and the Nobel Prize in 2010 for his work on graphene.[3]

The co-winner of the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize in Biology was Thomas Thwaites, who created prosthetic limbs so he could walk like goats and spend time outdoors with them.[4]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]