October 7, 2005
Dog Testicles, Penguin Poop Study Win Ig Nobels
WASHINGTON -- The inventor of artificial testicles for dogs, Nigerian Internet scammers and a team that calculated the pressures created when penguins poop won Ig Nobel prizes for 2005 on Thursday.
The spoof prizes, awarded by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, are presented at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the winners must try to explain their work in a minute or less.
While some awards clearly poke fun at current culture, others are meant to provoke debate about science, Annals editor Marc Abrahams said.
"Now in their fifteenth year, the Igs honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think," Abrahams said in a statement.
The Ig Nobel Prizes were handed to the winners by genuine Nobel laureates Dudley Herschbach (1986 Chemistry), William Lipscomb (1976 Chemistry), Robert Wilson (1978 Physics) and Sheldon Glashow (1979 Physics).
Harvard professor Roy Glauber, awarded a Nobel Prize in physics, has been a regular at the Ig Nobels for 10 years, sweeping paper airplanes thrown on the stage during the ceremony.
This year's winners include:
"Medicine" -- Gregg Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, for inventing Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs.
"Neuticles allow your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with neutering. With Neuticles -- It's like nothing ever changed!" reads Miller's Web site at http://www.neuticles.com.
"Literature" -- The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, "for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq." The scams are notorious for asking people to reveal their private bank information to help fictitious characters transfer large sums of money.
"Fluid Dynamics" -- Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany, and the University of Oulu, Finland; and Jozsef Gal of Lorond Eotvos University in Hungary, for "Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh -- Calculations on Avian Defaecation," an actual study published in 2003 in the journal Polar Biology.
"Economics -- Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides.