Last night 1200 scientists and others gathered at in Harvard's Sanders Theatre for the most important night of the scientific year: the awarding of the 2006 Ig Nobel Prizes. Unlike that other prize with a similar sounding name, winners of the Igs are expected to make people laugh as well as think. And, yes, they are real.
This year's winners include:
- Math: How many photos must be taken to almost ensure no-one in a group shot has their eyes closed, by Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes
- Ornithology: Why woodpeckers do not get headaches, by Ivan Schwab and the late Philip RA May
- Nutrition: Why dung beetles are fussy eaters, by Wasmia al-Houty and Faten al-Mussalam
- Acoustics: Why the sound of fingernails scraping on blackboards is so annoying, by D Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand
- Medicine: The Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage, by Francis Fesmire, Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan and Arie Oliven
No matter how painful my hiccups get, I'm not trying that cure.
Let's have a big round of applause for the winners.