Ig® Nobel Limericks: World’s End, Sheep-Dragging, Robber Trap

Ig Nobel Achievements distilled into limerick form
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 website.

2011 Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize

The prize was awarded to Dorothy Martin of the U.S.A, (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the U.S.A. (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the U.S.A. (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of Korea (who predicted the world would end in 1992), 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 September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

The end of the world was projected,
Projections that proved misdirected.
They all seemed so sure,
But the earth did endure. When it ends, it will be unexpec—

2003 Ig Nobel Physics Prize
The prize was awarded to Jack Harvey, John Culvenor, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams of Australia, for their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces." [published in Applied Ergonomics, vol. 33, no. 6, November 2002, pp. 523–31].

Researchers worldwide were asleep.
There was, before this, not a peep.
But now it is known,
As these guys have shown,
How much force you will need to drag sheep.

2007 Ig Nobel Economics Prize
The prize was awarded to Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device, in the year 2001, that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them. [Documented in U.S. patent #6,219,959, granted on April 24, 2001, for a “net trapping system for capturing a robber immediately.”]

Your banker should quickly adopt
This device whereby robbers are stopped.
It’s worthy of praising.
It’s simply amazing
When netting upon them is dropped.


This article is republished with permission from the January-February 2012 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!

Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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Has anyone here actually listened to Harold Camping speak? I tried it once and found it extremely difficult; he has the most tortured sounding voice and flat delivery. The truly extraordinary thing about Mr. Camping, after his having had the nerve to predict the end of the world TWICE, is that he has so many followers.
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