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Friday, October 05, 2007

Air Force Researchers In Ohio: Their 'Gay Bomb' Wins Ig Nobel Prize

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A military research project in Ohio intended to develop a chemical weapon that would make soldiers fall in love with each other on the battlefield has been awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize. Sadly, the Pentagon kissed off the program. It decided to stick with guns and explosives. Details here:

"PEACE PRIZE The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, USA, for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon -- the so-called "gay bomb" -- that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other.REFERENCE: "Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals," Wright Laboratory, WL/FIVR, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, June 1, 1994, < incapacitants/jnlwdpdf/wpafbchem.pdf>PRESS NOTE: The Air Force Wright Laboratory has since been re- organized, and is now called the Air Force Research Laboratory"

For the complete list of all the Ig Nobel awards, and links to the scientific papers, read on.

Literally-bottomless bowl of soup; and "gay bomb" among winners; Also: A net that drops on bank robbers; and vanilla made from cow dung;Winners come from 5 continents

Oct. 4, 2007, CAMBRIDGE, MA. The 2007 Ig Nobel Prizes, honoring achievements that first make people LAUGH, and then make them THINK, were awarded at Harvard University's historic Sanders Theatre tonight before 1200 spectators in a ceremony filled with chickens, eggs, opera singers, and paper airplanes. Around the world, thousands watched via live webcast. This was the 17th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.�Seven of the ten new winners journeyed to Harvard -- at their own expense -- to accept their Prizes. This year's winners come from five continents. South America, which produced few Ig Nobel winners in the past, made a big splash this year with three Prizes.�The Ig Nobel Prizes were physically handed to the winners by genuine Nobel Laureates Craig Mello (Physiology or Medicine, 2006), Roy Glauber (Physics, 2005), Dudley Herschbach (Chemistry 1986), William Lipscomb (Chemistry 1976), and Robert Laughlin (Physics 1998). Professor Laughlin was the prize in the Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel- Laureate Contest.�The event was produced by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" (AIR), and co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students, and the Harvard Computer Society.�The evening also featured numerous tributes to the evening's theme of "Chicken." Keynote speaker Doug Zongker's talk, titled "Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken," consisted of two solid minutes of repeating the word "chicken," accompanied by technical diagrams. (The complete text and diagrams are online at <>)�The ceremony included the premiere of a new mini-opera called "Chicken versus Egg" -- a mother-daughter tale starring Gail Kilkelly and Maggie McNeil, professional opera singers who are themselves mother and daughter. They were joined in the rousing conclusion by all the scientists on stage.�Each new winner was permitted a maximum of sixty (60) seconds to deliver an acceptance speech; the time limit was enforced by a cute- but-implacable eight-year-old girl. The winners will try to explain themselves at greater length (five minutes each) in free public lectures on the afternoon of Saturday, October 6 at MIT.�Several former winners were present, greeted with frenzy from the audience. These included: Don Featherstone (creator of the plastic pink flamingo); Kees Moeliker (who reported the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck); Gauri Nanda (inventor of an alarm clock that runs away and hides repeatedly); and Francis Fesmire (the first doctor to cure intractable hiccups by applying digital rectal massage). Also present was the daughter of recently-deceased past winner Robert Lopez (the veterinarian who took ear mites from a cat, inserted them into his own ear, and then carefully observed the results).�Marc Abrahams, master of ceremonies (and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research), closed the ceremony with the traditional, "If you didn't win an Ig Nobel prize tonight -- and especially if you did -- better luck next year."�The event was broadcast live on the Internet, and can be seen in recorded form at <>. [An edited recording of the ceremony will be broadcast on National Public Radio's "Science Friday" program on the day after Thanksgiving.]�For more info see��============THE WINNERS:============�MEDICINE PRIZEBrian Witcombe of Gloucester, UK, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, USA, for their penetrating medical report "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects."REFERENCE: "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects," Brian Witcombe and Dan Meyer, British Medical Journal, December 23, 2006, vol. 333, pp. 1285-7.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Brian Witcombe and Dan MeyerPRESS NOTE: Prior to coming to the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, the two co-winners never actually met each other -- they collaborated via telephone and email.CONTACT: Dr. Brian Witcombe, consultant radiologist Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester, GL1 3NN, UK. Phone: Work: (+44) 01452 394245. CONTACT: Dan Meyer, The Sword Swallowers Association International, 3729 Belle Oaks Drive, Antioch, Tennessee 37013, USA. Mobile: (+1) (615) 969-2568. <http://>�PHYSICS PRIZEL. Mahadevan of Harvard University, USA, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago de Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled.REFERENCES:"Wrinkling of an Elastic Sheet Under Tension," E. Cerda, K. Ravi- Chandar, L. Mahadevan, Nature, vol. 419, October 10, 2002, pp. 579-80."Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling," E. Cerda and L. Mahadevan, Physical Review Letters, fol. 90, no. 7, February 21, 2003, pp. 074302/1-4."Elements of Draping," E. Cerda, L. Mahadevan and J. Passini, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 101, no. 7, 2004, pp. 1806-10.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca's sister Mariela.PRESS NOTE: Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan is a native of India.CONTACT: L. Mahadevan, Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Pierce Hall 324, Harvard University, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Phone: (+1) 617-496-9599 <>CONTACT: Professor Enrique Cerda Villablanca, Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) Address: Avenida Ecuador 3493, Estacion Central, Santiago 9170124, Chile. Phone: (+56) 2-7181255 < EnriqueCerdaVillablanca.htm><>�BIOLOGY PRIZEProf. Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, for doing a census of all the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds each night.REFERENCES:"Huis, Bed en Beestjes" [House, Bed and Bugs], J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, vol. 116, no. 20, May 13, 1972, pp. 825-31."Het Stof, de Mijten en het Bed" [Dust, Mites and Bedding]. J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk Vakblad voor Biologen, vol. 53, no. 2, 1973, pp. 22-5."Autotrophic Organisms in Mattress Dust in the Netherlands," B. van de Lustgraaf, J.H.H.M. Klerkx, J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Acta Botanica Neerlandica, vol. 27, no. 2,� 1978, pp 125-8."A Bed Ecosystem," J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Lecture Abstracts -- 1st Benelux Congress of Zoology, Leuven, November 4-5, 1994, p. 36.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van BronswijkCONTACT: Prof. Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk. Department of Architecture, Building & Planning, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Phone: (+31) 40 2472008. Mobile (+31) 6 22458496. <>�CHEMISTRY PRIZEMayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin -- vanilla fragrance and flavoring -- from cow dung.REFERENCE: "Novel Production Method for Plant Polyphenol from Livestock Excrement Using Subcritical Water Reaction," Mayu Yamamoto, International Medical Center of Japan.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Mayu YamamotoPRESS NOTE: Toscanini's Ice Cream, the finest ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has created a new ice cream flavor in honor of Mayu Yamamoto. The flavor is called "Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist." For details: Gus Rancatore, Toscanini's Ice Cream, , (+1) 617-491-5877. [NOTE: Toscanini's will offer a free public tasting on Friday -- see below for details.]CONTACT:Ms. Mayu Yamamoto, 1-8-18 Nishikata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0024, Japan.Phone/fax: +81-3-3816-4802. CONTACT: Her father: Kenji Yamamoto, Director General, Research Institute, International Medical Center of Japan, 1-21-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.Mobile: (+81) 090-2238-5504. �LINGUISTICS PRIZEJuan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and N�ria Sebasti�n-Gall�s, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.REFERENCE: "Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats," Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and N�ria Sebasti�n-Gall�s, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners could not travel to the ceremony, so they instead delivered their acceptance speech via recorded videoPRESS: NOTES: The work was done in Spain. Juan Manuel Toro is a citizen of Colombia. He now lives and works in Italy.CONTACT: Juan Manuel Toro Soto, Settore, Neuroscienze Cognitive, SISSA (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati), via Stock 2/2, 34135 Trieste, Italy.Phone: (+39) 040 3787 603. < ~jmtoro/>CONTACT: Josep Batista Trobalon, Universitat de Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain. < pepb.htm>CONTACT: N�ria Sebasti�n Gall�s, Dept. de Psicologia B�sica, Universitat de Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.Phone: + 34 93 312 51 42. < pbasic/sppb/ingl/cv/sebastia.htm>�LITERATURE PRIZEGlenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word "the" -- and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.REFERENCE: "The Definite Article: Acknowledging 'The' in Index Entries," Glenda Browne, The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119-22.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Glenda BrowneCONTACT: Glenda Browne, Blaxland, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Phone: (+61) 2 47398199 and (+61) 0425350421. <>�PEACE PRIZEThe Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, USA, for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon -- the so-called "gay bomb" -- that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other.REFERENCE: "Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals," Wright Laboratory, WL/FIVR, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, June 1, 1994, < incapacitants/jnlwdpdf/wpafbchem.pdf>PRESS NOTE: The Air Force Wright Laboratory has since been re- organized, and is now called the Air Force Research Laboratory.�NUTRITION PRIZEBrian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by feeding them with a self- refilling, bottomless bowl of soup.REFERENCE: "Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake," Brian Wansink, James E. Painter and Jill North, Obesity Research, vol. 13, no. 1, January 2005, pp. 93-100.REFERENCE: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink, Bantom Books, 2006, ISBN 0553804340.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Brian Wansink.CONTACT: Prof. Brian Wansink, 110 Warren Hall. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA Office: 607.254.6302 E-mail:> < < wansink.htm>�ECONOMICS PRIZEKuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device, in the year 2001, that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them.REFERENCE: U.S. patent #6,219,959, granted on April 24, 2001, for a "net trapping system for capturing a robber immediately."PRESS NOTE: The Ig Nobel Board of Governors has attempted repeatedly to find Mr. Hsieh, but he seems to have vanished mysteriously.CONTACT: as listed in his patent: 5F, No. 241 Changan Road Sec. 2, Taichung, Taiwan.�AVIATION PRIZEPatricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.REFERENCE: "Sildenafil Accelerates Reentrainment of Circadian Rhythms After Advancing Light Schedules," Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 23, June 5 2007, pp. 9834-9.WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Diego A. GolombekCONTACT: Dr. Diego Golombek, Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnolog�a, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Roque S. Pe�a 352, (1876) Bernal, Pcia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tel: (+54) 11-4365-7100 ext. 154. ��===============RELATED EVENTS===============�ICE CREAM INTRODUCTION - FRIDAY, October 5, 2007, 11:00 am.Toscanini's Ice Cream, Central Square, 899 Main Street, Cambridge, MA.Toscanini's Ice Cream will have a free public tasting of the new flavor -- "Yum-A-Moto Vanilla Twist" -- they invented to honor 2007 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize winner Mayu Yamamoto.For details: Gus Rancatore, , (+1) 617-491-5877.��THE IG INFORMAL LECTURES -- SATURDAY, October 6, 2007, 1:00 pm.MIT Building 10, Room 250, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. FREE ADMISSION. An afternoon of free public lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in which the new winners will explain, as best they can, why they did what they did. They will be joined by several past Ig winners.�Lecture Details: < details.html#informal-lectures>��=====LINKS=====�Ceremony and Lecture Details:<>�Ig Nobel Prize home page: <>�Past winners: <>�Annals of Improbable Research: <>��

1 comment:

  1. This is WAY too long of a posting.

    Should everyone just get drunk and be happy? That's my vote.