07 October 2007

Two cheers for the 21st century

The annual Ig Noble prizes for 2007, awarded by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, have been presented at a
ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Highlights included: "Chemistry" - Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin, or vanilla fragrance and flavouring, from cow dung. "Linguistics" - Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, of Universitat de Barcelona, for a study showing rats sometimes fail to distinguish between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards. "Peace Prize" - The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research and development on a chemical weapon, the so-called "gay bomb", that "will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other". "Economics" - Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device in 2001 that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them, known as the "net trapping system for capturing a robber
- Reuters
[Courtesy of FFA]

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