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Irrelevant Scientific Research Honored 93

More than 1,000 people attended this year's Ig Nobel awards, a light-hearted alternative to the Nobel Prizes. Scientists who unlocked the inner secrets of dog fleas, crisps and tangled string swept the show. Handing out awards was William Lipscomb, the 1976 Nobel laureate for chemistry, also doubling Thursday, at the age of 89, as the hero in the "Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest." The prize itself is a plaque that reads, "This Ig Nobel Prize is awarded in the year 2008 to an Ig Nobel Prize Winner, in recognition of the Ig Nobel Prize Winners' Ig Nobel Prize winning achievement." At last I can submit my paper, "Everything is Really Wet, Even Dry Stuff." for peer review.
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Irrelevant Scientific Research Honored

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  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:01PM (#25250335)

    I know it's all in fun but seriously, just because research is funny doesn't mean it isn't meaningful. One paper was in knot theory, which is apparently a pretty large and under-researched area of mathmatics. Another was convincing people that their potato chips were fresh by playing crunching noises while they were being eaten, which I imagine provides insights into how what we taste is influenced by our other senses.

    Don't forget, the point of the Ig Nobel Awards is to 'Make you laugh, then make you think'.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:18PM (#25250519) Homepage

    Well all research ought to be potentially good. You never know when something important may arise from seemingly unimportant research, provided its conducted properly. A seemingly unimportant fact that emerges from this research may prove to be important when applied to someone else's research down the road.

  • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:28PM (#25250629)

    ugh, they don't go into details of how that's used, but assuming it's like typical spermicides and it's vaginally applied that's a TERRIBLE idea. Even if it kills sperm, that'd completely screw up the pH balance and flood it with sugar. Sounds to me like exactly what you don't want to do(unless you like yeast infections and other such STIs)

  • by yali ( 209015 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:29PM (#25250637)

    Absolutely. The summary and linked article get it wrong. The Ig Nobel prizes are not about "irrelevant" research:

    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.
    From the Ig Nobel Website [improbable.com]

    A lot of scientific research seems pointless or silly to people who don't know what it's really about or why it was done. Hence the regular "still no cure for cancer" and "I can't believe my tax dollars fund this" comments. The Ig Nobel prizes acknowledge that science can sometimes seem funny on the surface, but they definitely do not concede that it is irrelevant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 03, 2008 @05:10PM (#25251057)
    Speaking of Knot Theory, my theory is that someone at apple did some actual research on the best materials to make earplug cords out of. I have discovered that I can untangle my ipod earplugs much easier than I can regular earplugs. I am assuming that apple even did research into a best coating for their earplugs to make them untangle easier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 03, 2008 @08:11PM (#25252497)

    There are idiots everwhere, some even belive that there is vaccination for cancer.

    "[...] who think young ladies shouldn't get vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease known to have a high statistical correlation with cervical cancer." <-- Fixed for you.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.