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  • Writer's pictureJim Parks, CFP, AIF

It's that time again.

During the past few weeks, Nobel Prize winners have been announced as well as Ig Nobel Prize winners. The Igs are awarded for improbable research that makes people laugh and then think. A lucky few have won both Ig Nobel and Nobel prizes.

The honorees at the Ig Nobel ceremony received their awards from “a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, in Harvard’s historic and largest theater.” This year’s winners included:

• Medicine: Cancer researcher Silvano Gallus and associates researched and wrote the paper, Does Pizza Protect Against Cancer? They received the Ig Nobel for “collecting evidence that pizza might protect against illness and death, if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy.”

• Biology: A group of researchers from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore were recognized for “discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches.”

• Engineering: Iman Farahbakhsh of Iran was recognized for patenting an infant diaper changer and washer. The patent explained, “...once the infant is placed inside the apparatus, various steps may in some cases be carried out automatically without needing the operator to touch the infant or interact manually with the diaper or infant during the changing process...”

• Economics: Father and son, Timothy and Andreas Voss, and their associates received an Ig Nobel for “testing which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria.”

Other winners explored the pleasure of scratching an itch (Peace Prize), the volume of saliva produced daily by a five-year-old child (Chemistry Prize), and whether holding a pen in your mouth increases happiness (Psychology Prize).


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