Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.
The glorious IgNobel Awards are awarded
Room had to be found in Made By Monkeys for the glorious – serious but funny – IgNobel Awards 2012.
The ceremony took place on Thursday, 20 September, at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, no less, with the Igs celebrating ‘Improbable Research’.
Here is how the organisers describe the event:
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology. Every year, in a gala ceremony in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, 1200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes. These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel laureates.
For example, how about the Neuroscience Prize?
“Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.
REFERENCE: “Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction,” Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, 2009.”
Rather wonderfully, all the researchers attended the ceremony – a tribute to the prestigious pulling power of the IgNobels.
Or how about the Acoustics Prize?
Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person’s speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay. (We featured this as a “Shut-up Device”.)
REFERENCE: “SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback”, Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada, arxiv.org/abs/1202.6106. February 28, 2012.
Again both Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada attended the event to receive their awards.
You can see a full list of the winners on the Improbable Research website.
Pictured is the “The Stinker”, the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes.