Australian Scientists Score Big At The 2011 Ig Nobels

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Ig Ig Ig! The Ig Nobel 2011 awards have wrapped up, and Australian researchers have secured awards for medicine and biology research. Not your regular ordinary medicine or biology research, though; this was for researching the effects of holding in urine and for discovering that certain kinds of beetles try to mate with certain kinds of Australian beer bottles. It's a proud, proud day for Australian research, folks. The 2011 Ig Nobels have wrapped, and Australia won twice. The full list of improbable winners below:

Biology: Daryll Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that certain kinds of beetle mate with certain kinds of Australian beer bottle. Chemistry: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm. Literature: John Perry of Stanford University for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which states: "To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important." Mathematics: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of Korea (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Shoko Asahara of Japan (who predicted the world would end in 1997), Credonia Mwerinde of Uganda (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on 6 September 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on 21 October 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations. Medicine: Mirjam Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder, Robert Feldman, Robert Pietrzak, David Darby and Paul Maruff for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things – but worse decisions about other kinds of things – when they have a strong urge to urinate. Peace: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running over them with a tank. Psychology: Karl Halvor Teigen of the University of Oslo, Norway, for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh. Physics: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma for trying to determine why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't, in their paper "Dizziness in discus throwers is related to motion sickness generated while spinning". Physiology: Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber for their study "No evidence of contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria". Public safety: John Senders of the University of Toronto, Canada, for conducting a series of safety experiments in which a person drives an automobile on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flaps down over his face, blinding him.


    See now this IS what people should celebrate winning... Sport Schmort.. and don't get me started on entertainment awards! (except obviously ones for tech blog sites!)

    Congratulations Aussie Scientists!

      Also.. I want a Wasabi alarm.. hopefully then I won't miss my train in the morning!

    Arturas Zuokas sounds like the best of the bunch to me- a TRUE genius!

      ...Even if it was really an APC and not a tank at all and even though it was only one car and even though it was only an expensive political stunt for the cameras, it's STILL a marvellous idea in principal!

    Chemistry: I think this is poorly awarded on what's a useful development. The prizegivers don't seem to get that an audible alarm won't work for people who're deaf. How do you wake them - turn the lights on?

    I would like to know what kinds of problems I should focus on when I'm busting for a leak.

      I suspect that the prizegivers do realise there's some utility in the research; the previous Ig Nobel story ( has a great Dr Karl video where he explains the premise and why the research can be useful anyway.

    Harold Camping predicted 21st May 2011, and has now predicted it 5 months later on 21st October 2011. That's 17 days away! You never know, he... uh... might be right? Then you'd have to redact his Ig Nobel & grant him a real Nobel.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now