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October 10, 2003

Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The annual Ig Nobel Prizes are run by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and given out to honor people whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced." The Prizes are awarded at a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre. Among this year's winners were:
- Three engineers (the late John Paul Stapp, the late Edward A. Murphy, Jr., and George Nichols) who are credited with giving birth in 1949 to Murphy's Law, the basic engineering principle that "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, someone will do it" (or, in other words: "If anything can go wrong, it will").
- Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University, for his chemical investigation of a bronze statue, in the city of Kanazawa, that fails to attract pigeons.
- In Literature, John Trinkaus of the Zicklin School of Business, New York City, for meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about specific annoyances and anomalies of daily life, such as: What percentage of young people wear baseball caps with the peak facing to the rear rather than to the front; What percentage of pedestrians wear sport shoes that are white rather than some other color; What percentage of swimmers swim laps in the shallow end of a pool rather than the deep end; What percentage of automobile drivers almost, but not completely, come to a stop at one particular stop-sign; What percentage of commuters carry attaché cases; What percentage of shoppers exceed the number of items permitted in a supermarket's express checkout lane; and What percentage of students dislike the taste of Brussels sprouts.
Ig Nobel site | Award Webcast

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