Ig Nobel Prize

Human beings often use comedic relief as a source of solace. Awarding scientific humorists is an extraordinary way to promote comic alleviation. The organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize was introduced to honor achievements that made people laugh and then later on think. This paper will discuss the Ig Nobel Prize, its origin, how the ceremony is held, and some of the people who won the award.

The Ig Nobel Prize was first organized by Marc Abrahams, a founding member of the Annals of Importable Research (AIR) magazine, in 1991. Sanders Theater, a well-decorated auditorium at Harvard University, was the first venue of the event (Abrahams, 2004). Since then, the venue has always held subsequent events. The major organizers of the event include the Annals of Importable Research (AIR) magazine, Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students, the Harvard Computer Society, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association. A highly qualified panel of judges chooses winners from the list of nominees. The nomination categories include literature, peace, chemistry, physics, public health, medicine, engineering, interdisciplinary research, economics, and education. Winners are awarded cash prizes and trophies, having a maximum of sixty seconds to address the audience (Abrahams, 2004).

Some of the notable winners of the prize include Jacques Benveniste, who emerged victorious in 1991 for discovering that water has memory. His discovery proclaimed that water could remember information for a long time, thus making it a clever liquid. The Baptist Church of Alabama received the 1994 Mathematics prize for calculating the exact number of its citizens who will be taken to hell if they did not come back to God. In 2008, Massimiliano Zampini, a nutritionist, was awarded the prize after discovering that food taste highly depends on sound. Michel Antoietti and Emmanuel Ben-Soussan got the prize in 2012 for offering recommendations to doctors on how to prevent their patients from bursting while carrying out bowel examinations (Improbable Research Article, 2008).

Most of these discoveries seem to ridicule science, but in the real case, they have profoundly transformed actual fields of scientific research. These achievements offer great contributions and improvements to the real discoveries by attacking the absurdity in science. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prize has continuously achieved its main goal of providing humor and then improving science. Nobel Prize laureates hand out the respective awards to the winners to make the event look better and complete. Many people never think about the real scientific discoveries because of the complex processes involved in comprehending them. But once someone sees an intricate scientific idea in a humorous way, their minds are more prone to open up to look at all the odds and possibilities.

The Ig Nobel Prize has succeeded in merging science and humor – two totally different and isolated fields. The awarding of the prize is official, but at the end of the ceremony, it leaves people feeling the joy of science. The achievements made by the winners attack or praise science with the main aim of making improvements. Apart from providing laughter, the event also opens up many peoples’ minds to think about the discoveries that are possible and sometimes inherent in their daily lives.

Abrahams, M. (2004). The Ig Nobel Prizes: An All-New Collection of the World’s Unlikeliest Research. NY: Duton Publishers.
Improbable Research: Research that Makes People Laugh and Then Think. (2012). Retrieved from: http://www.improbable.com/ig/.

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