The winners of this year Ig Nobel Prizes were announced today (see the list below). This award was created in 1991 by a science magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" (AIR) and is given in recognition of scientific achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think", "celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative - and spur people's interest in science, medicine and technology".
2007 Ig Nobel Winners - pick your favorite! (Mine is the one from the linguistic department...)
Medicine - Brain Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK, and Dan Meyer for their probing work on the health consequences of swallowing a sword.
Physics - A US-Chile team who ironed out the problem of how sheets become wrinkled.
Biology - Dr Johanna van Bronswijk of the Netherlands for carrying out a creepy crawly census of all of the mites, insects, spiders, ferns and fungi that share our beds.
Chemistry - Mayu Yamamoto, from Japan, for developing a method to extract vanilla fragrance and flavouring from cow dung.
Linguistics - A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards.
Literature - Glenda Browne of Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word "the", and how it can flummox those trying to put things into alphabetical order.
Peace - The US Air Force Wright Laboratory for instigating research and development on a chemical weapon that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among enemy troops.
Nutrition - Brian Wansink of Cornell University for investigating the limits of human appetite by feeding volunteers a self-refilling, "bottomless" bowl of soup.
Economics - Kuo Cheng Hsieh of Taiwan for patenting a device that can catch bank robbers by dropping a net over them.
Aviation - A National University of Quilmes, Argentina, team for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters to recover from jet lag.