Oct
11
2007

Dig out your bowties and party hats – it’s award season!

The recipient of the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award makes his way to the stage: very slowly. (image courtesy of masochismtango on flickr.com)
The recipient of the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award makes his way to the stage: very slowly. (image courtesy of masochismtango on flickr.com)
One hates to be a JGordon-come-lately, but it’s about time that someone acknowledged that we are well into the scientific awards season. We ought to pay a little respect to the winners.

The Nobel Prizes have just been given out, of course. It was truly a dynamite season (if you will) for the laureates, with jaw-dropping upsets in the “Confusing Egghead” and “Meta-meta” categories, and a Cinderella story sweep of the "Intrapersonal Relations," "Fruity Drinks Studies," and “Ghosts, Goblins, and Ghouls” awards by the Chinese team. And naturally everyone was pleased to see the Old European Man Lifetime Achievement Award given to a truly ancient European man – he really deserved it. As usual, each winner received a valuable statue, free drinks for the evening, and an extra ticket for the door-prize raffle.

More importantly, October has brought us the announcement of the Ig Nobel Prizes, the achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The complete list of winners can be found here (including those from past years), but some of my favorites are the Aviation Prize, for research into curing hamsters of jetlag with Viagra; the Chemistry Prize, for extracting vanilla flavor from cow dung (one hates to waste it); and the Ig Nobel Peace Prize, for the proposed Gay Bomb, a non-lethal weapon that would make enemy soldiers “sexually irresistible” to each other. I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind that last one. At worst, I think it would just mean the end of camouflage uniforms.

It’s an exciting time we live in!

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