• Jonathon Allen, CFP®

It's Ig Nobel Time

On September 17, the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was broadcast online. Here’s a fun fact: The 1995 Ig Nobel Ceremony was one of the first events videocast on the Internet.

The Ig Nobel Prizes “celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” The ceremony is organized by the magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, and is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.

This year’s winning research explored ideas that make people laugh and think. The winning research included:

  • Arachnophobic Entomologists: When Two More Legs Makes a Big Difference, “for collecting evidence that many entomologists (scientists who study insects) are afraid of spiders, which are not insects.”

  • A Chinese alligator in heliox: formant frequencies in a crocodilian, “for inducing a female Chinese alligator to bellow in an airtight chamber filled with helium-enriched air.”

  • Eyebrows cue grandiose narcissism, “for devising a method to identify narcissists by examining their eyebrows.”

  • National Income Inequality Predicts Cultural Variation in Mouth to Mouth Kissing, “for trying to quantify the relationship between different countries’ national income inequality and the average amount of mouth-to-mouth kissing.”

  • Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric Disorder, “for diagnosing a long-unrecognized medical condition: Misophonia, the distress at hearing other people make chewing sounds.”

Anyone can learn more about why the researchers were exploring these ideas. Alternatively, 24/7 Ig Nobel lectures are available during which the winners explain their topics twice. First, they are asked to deliver complete technical descriptions in 24 seconds. Then, they try to offer clear summaries that anyone can understand in just seven words.