“First Laugh, Then Think” (from our “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file)

Much of the world’s attention this month is focused on the 2013 crop of Nobel Prize winners. But an equally compelling, if somewhat eccentric, annual awards ceremony may do as much to foster interest in science, technology and medicine as its more noble (!) counterpart.

The 23rd 1st Annual (not a typo!) Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was held in September 2013 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. According to the folks at Improbable Research (the group behind the Ig Nobel Prize), the Prizes are intended to “honor achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.”  

This year’s Ig Nobel Prize award winners this year included:

  • For medicine, Japanese researchers who investigated the effect of opera music on mice who have undergone heart transplantation;
  • For psychology, researchers who confirmed that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive;
  • Jointly for biology and astronomy, researchers who discovered that dung beetles can navigate by looking at the Milky Way;
  • And, for safety engineering, the late Gustano Pizzo, for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers.

Details of additional winners are available at the Improbable Research website.