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Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science

1998 Ig Nobel Prizes

The 1998 Ig Nobel Prizes, presented for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced," were awarded at Harvard's Sanders Theatre in early October before 1200 spectators in a ceremony filled with hijinks, paper airplanes, and duct tape. The event was produced by the science humor magazine, Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), and co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and Manco, proud suppliers of Duck® Tape.

The Prizes were physically handed to the winners by genuine Nobel Laureates William Lipscomb (Chemistry '76), Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine '93), Dudley Herschbach (Chemistry '86), and Sheldon Glashow (Physics '79). The evening also featured numerous tributes to duct tape, including a duct tape fashion show and a duct tape opera. Richard Roberts was the prize in the annual Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest.

Recipients of the 1998 Ig Nobel Prizes are as follows:

Safety Engineering
Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears.

Biology
Peter Fong of Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for contributing to the happiness of clams by giving them Prozac.

Peace
Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan for their aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs.

Chemistry
Jacques Benveniste of France for his homeopathic discovery that not only does water have memory, but that the information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the Internet.

Science Education
Dolores Krieger, Professor Emerita, New York University, for demonstrating the merits of therapeutic touch, a method by which nurses manipulate the energy fields of ailing patients without physical contact.

Statistics
Jerald Bain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Kerry Siminoski of the University of Alberta for their carefully measured report, "The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size."

Physics
Deepak Chopra of The Chopra Center for Well Being, La Jolla, California, for his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness. Sheldon Glashow (Nobel 79) accepted on behalf of Chopra, citing Chopra's use of quantum mechanics in the pursuit of economic bliss. In his best-seller, "Quantum Healing," Chopra explained that, "We need to consult the quantum to understand how the mind pivots on the turning point of a molecule."


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin