October 2, 2009

Ig Nobel Prizes honor unusual science

The mock Noble Prizes given out at a Massachusetts ceremony included an award for determining why pregnant women don't tip over.

The 19th annual Ig Noble Prize ceremony Thursday at Harvard University saw tongue-in-cheek honors given to scientists who studied the ability of pregnant women to remain upright, chemists who used tequila to create diamonds and a Swiss team that investigated whether it is safer to be hit on the head with a full bottle or an empty one, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Dr. Donald Unger, 83, was awarded a prize for his 60-year research into the connection between arthritis and knuckle cracking. He said he has been cracking his knuckles on one hand, but not the other, twice a day for 60 years and neither hand developed arthritis.

The awards were produced by science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and each award was handed out by an actual Nobel laureate. The event was held in advance of the actual Nobel prizes, which are scheduled to be announced next week.