The winners of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize were announced and awarded yesterday at Harvard University. For more than twenty years this prize has honoured achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to contrast the distinguished Nobel Prize, celebrate the unusual and imaginative research of the world and engage people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology, however they are not always warmly received.
Some standout winners of this years prize are:
Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada for creating the SpeechJammer - a machine that disrupts a person’s speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay. A piece of technology that earned the Acoustics Ig Nobel Prize.
Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren, and Robin Ball for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. This research, a first of its kind, earned the Physics Ig Nobel Prize.
Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends. Their work deserved them of the Anatomy Ig Nobel Prize.