by Martin Eiger, Improbable Research Limerick Laureate
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think. For details of all the Ig Nobel Prize–winning achievements, see each year’s special Ig Nobel issue of the magazine, and also see the winners' page.
2008 Ig Nobel Cognitive Science Prize
Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido University, Japan, Hiroyasu Yamada of Nagoya, Japan, Ryo Kobayashi of Hiroshima University, Atsushi Tero of Presto JST, Akio Ishiguro of Tohoku University, and Agota Tsth of the University of Szeged, Hungary, for discovering that slime molds can solve puzzles.
REFERENCE: “Intelligence: Maze-Solving by an Amoeboid Organism,” Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Hiroyasu Yamada, and Ágota Tóth, Nature, vol. 407, September 2000, p. 470.
The crossword has left me at sea.
The sudoku’s as hard as can be.
Though it won’t be as fun,
I will get them done.
A slime mold will solve them for me.
2003 Ig Nobel Economics Prize
The prize was awarded to Karl Schwarzler and the nation of Liechtenstein, for making it possible to rent the entire country for corporate conventions, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other gatherings.
In Liechtenstein, one shouldn’t miss
A chance of a lifetime like this.
You can rent the whole nation
For your celebration,
A wedding, bar mitzvah, or bris.
2002 Ig Nobel Physics Prize
(Image credit: Flickr user matthiashn)
Arnd Leike of the University of Munich, for demonstrating that beer froth obeys the mathematical law of exponential decay.
REFERENCE: “Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth,” Arnd Leike, European Journal of Physics, vol. 23, January 2002, pp. 21–6.
There’s a beer on the table near me.
As I stare at it, clearly, I see
A continuous drop
In the foam on the top
As e to the negative t.
_____________________This article is republished with permission from the September-October 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!
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