APS News

Zero Gravity

The 2006 Ig Nobel Prizes

On October 5, the 2006 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at Harvard University's historic Sanders Theatre. Nearly 1200 spectators were on hand to revel in a ceremony filled with cheese, mosquitoes, opera singers, paper airplanes, and inertia. The event was broadcast live on the Internet, and can be seen in recorded form at http:// www.improbable.com.

Ivan R. Schwab, of the University of California, Davis, and the late Philip R.A. May of the University of California, Los Angeles, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don't get headaches.

Wasmia Al‑Houty of Kuwait University and Faten Al‑Mussalam of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority, for showing that dung beetles are finicky eaters.

Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing an  electromechanical teenager repellent–a device that makes annoying  noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults; and for  later using that same technology to make telephone ringtones that are  audible to teenagers but not to their teachers.

D. Lynn Halpern (of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Brandeis University, and Northwestern University), Randolph Blake (of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University) and James  Hillenbrand (of Western Michigan University and Northwestern  University) for conducting experiments to learn why people dislike the sound of fingernails scraping on a blackboard.

Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth  Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed.

Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report  “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of  Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”

Francis M. Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of  Medicine, for his medical case report “Termination of Intractable  Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage”; and Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven of Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, for their subsequent medical case report also titled “Termination of  Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.”

Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch of the Université Pierre et  Marie Curie, in Paris, for their insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces.

Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito and José Bon of the University of Valencia, Spain, and Carmen Rosselló of the University of Illes Balears, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for their study “Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature.”

Bart Knols (of Wageningen Agricultural University, in Wageningen, the Netherlands; and of the National Institute for Medical Research, in Ifakara Centre, Tanzania, and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna Austria) and Ruurd de Jong (of Wageningen Agricultural University and of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Italy) for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell  of human feet.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff