Top Ten Bits of Ig Nobel Trivia

As a prelude to the official Nobel prizes that will be announced next week,  the less austere Ig Nobel prizes will be awarded at a ceremony today. The event will be webcast starting at  7:30pm Boston time. Here is a trailer and ten interesting facts

  1. The Ig Noble prizes were first awarded in 1991 and included three items of research that were just made up as well as a peace prize to Edward Teller for the H-bomb.
  2. The prices were originally described as being awarded for research that “cannot, or should not, be reproduced” but this was later changed to the more ingratiating slogan that it would “make people LAUGH, and then THINK”
  3. The name of the award should be pronounced IG-NO-BELL to emphasize its relation to the Nobel Prize, rather than the word ignoble.
  4. Two Ig Nobel prizes have been awarded for Homeopathy, one in 1991 and another in 1998
  5. It used to be a tradition to throw paper airplane onto the stage as prizes were awarded but this had to be stamped out for security reasons.
  6. In 1995 Robert May, Baron of Oxford, and the then chief scientific advisor to the British government requested that the organizers no longer award Ig Nobel prizes to British scientists. He said that the awards risked bringing genuine experiments into ridicule.
  7. Despite the air of ridicule that comes with the award of an Ig Nobel prize several winning lines of research have had practical value including the observation that mosquitoes are as much attracted to the smell of  Limburger cheese as they are to human feet.
  8. When Andre Geim won the Nobel prize last year for his work on graphene he became the first person to have won both the Nobel and the Ig Nobel. The latter was awarded to him 10 years earlier for levitating frogs.
  9. Despite the reputation for toilet humor the Ig Noble prize citations have only mentioned toilets, urine and pooh once each (Update: urine count has gone up to twice).
  10. The Ig Nobel blog at has ridiculed at least twice this year but we are still waiting for the award of a prize to a paper from our archive.

3 Responses to Top Ten Bits of Ig Nobel Trivia

  1. Wilhelmus de Wilde says:


  2. Simplicity says:

    This post made my day ! LOOOOL 🙂

    Thanks Phil 🙂

  3. […] ci ricorda Phil Gibbs, stasera assisteremo alla cerimonia di apertura dei premi Ig Nobel 2011. Invece i Nobel […]

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