I’m Not Jealous But…..

It’s time for the Ig Nobel Awards!  Thank heavens for the eccentrics and maladjusted nut cases that thought up the Ig Nobel Awards which provide such wonderful blog fodder material and rescues us,  just as we run out of ideas for blog posts.

Harvard-based journal Annals of Improbable Research hands out the ‘Ig Nobel’ awards every year.  Some research is just so strange, so goofy, that according to Harvard University, it just shouldn’t be repeated.  Ig creator  and Master of Ceremonies, Marc Abrahams, was more charitable by saying that the improbable research  “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

One of the highlights of the evening was when Dr. Elena Bodnar, a 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winner, demonstrated on stage the use of her winning invention – a bra which can be converted into two functional gas masks.  Much laughter ensued when prominent scientists and celebrities proved that they couldn’t un-hook a bra even if their lives depended on it .  The picture below shows the gas-bra-mask in action.

In case of a gas attack, calmly reach for the gas mask located over the breasts of the woman in front of you.

Now, I’m not jealous but I think I deserve part of that Ig Nobel Prize (since I have had no luck with the Nobel Prize either).  The Lone Grey Squirrel suggested virtually the same idea more than 4 year earlier.   Proof of this is is with the following photo which was first posted on this very blog in 2006.

Multi-purpose Undergarment for support, protection from SARS and as a gas mask for haze.

For those of you who are curious, remember, that’s how the cat was killed.  Nevertheless here are some of the other winners for 2010;

  • The Medicine Prize was given to psychologists Simon Rietveld and Ilja van Beest of the University of Amsterdam who discovered that asthma can be alleviated by riding on a roller coaster.
  • The Physics Prize to Lianne Parkin and associates at the University of Otago in New Zealand for demonstrating that people who wear their socks outside their shoes are less likely to slip on icy sidewalks.
  • The  Biology Prize to Gareth Jones of Bristol University and his team from China for showing that, at least in the short-nosed fruit bat, “females who performed oral sex on their mates copulated for longer. ‘ It is said that “it is the first documented case of fellatio by adult animals other than humans,  and opens questions about whether female animals can manipulate males via sexual activity”.  (LGS ponders: “Is this really a new idea?”)
  • Peace Prize winner Richard Stephens et al of Keele University confirmed that swearing relieves pain.
  • The Engineering Prize was awarded to Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and collaborators at the Institute of Zoology in London for designing  small, remote-controlled helicopters to collect “whale snot”  ejected from whales’ blowholes.  In her acceptance speech, Acevedo-Whitehouse modestly admitted that had been a lifelong obsession.
  • The Transportation Prize to Mark Fricker and Dan Bebber at Oxford University who showed that slime mold could be used to model an effective railway network.
  • The Management Prize was given to Alessandro Pluchino and collaborators at the University of Catania for demonstrating mathematically that companies work more efficiently if staff are promoted at random. (LGS: “Ha! I knew it!)
  • The Public Health Prize to Manuel Barbeito at the Industrial Health and Safety Office in Maryland for studies showing that because microbes cling to beards, bearded scientists are potential laboratory hazards.
  • The Chemistry Prize to Eric Adams of MIT and others, including researchers at BP for proving that oil and water do mix after all.
  • The Economics Prize was awarded jointly to the executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Magnetar for “creating and promoting new ways to invest money – ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

It’s nice to know that I am not the only mad scientist in the world.  Sometimes it gets a little lonely.



19 thoughts on “I’m Not Jealous But…..”

  1. Hehe … great post … I think the gas mask bra is my favorite … the only problem with it is that there will be an outbreak of ‘false alarm’ gas attacks then when the real thing happens … kinda like the boy who cried ‘wolf!’ …

    … on the subject of masks, I was very surprised a few years ago, to see Japanese tourists wearing a surgical mask in the Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana … I mean, where could you find cleaner air? … isn’t this taking paranoia too far?

  2. So roller coasters alleviate asthma and pain, because I always swear when I’m on a roller coaster.
    Tomorrow I’m going to my local hobby shop to get that tiny little caboose for my slime mold train. Good times.

  3. Oh, funny, funny. You are far & away much more intelligent than any of these, Mr. Squirrel. 🙂

    I’d seen the bra thing before. Still. Rather. Speechless.

  4. Give me a break! Experts can be expert at being extremely stupid! Also to LGS for making me type “x” three times in one sentence. 🙂

  5. Whale snot collecting by helicopter … what kind of handkerchief … actually I do not want to know … The Management Prize is well earned!

  6. Very bad practise LGS that you didn’t get the IG prize. I think these winning inventions are very ground breaking. Eh ground breaking ………earth quake? They caused all the troubles here.

  7. Graham,
    Hehe. “False alarm” gas attacks……….. I know what you mean. As to the Japanese tourists, they were probably worried about picking up SARS or H1N1 from fellow tourists.

    Slime mold could be the best new pet sensation since sea monkeys!

  8. Evalinn,
    Yes, I do seem to have a lot of “mad” colleagues. Madness is just one step beyond genius, you know.

    Thank you for your kind words. Today things seem to do more than what they were originally invented to do. Like the iPhone…..it’s a phone but it is also a game console, calculator, alarm clock, diary, GPS, photo album, music player etc. So, now the bra also serves as survival equipment!

  9. Peace Prize winner Richard Stephens et al of Keele University confirmed that swearing relieves pain.

    This one should have gone to me I proved this decades ago.

  10. Oh



    I just had to clean my coffee of my computer monitor. This is too funny.

    I find it hard to believe that prominent scientists and celebrities couldn’t unhook a bra, since my experience with people of the male gender was that, in high school, most fellow sitting behind me could unhook my bra — with one hand — through my sweater. I would then have to struggle to get it fastened again. Now I know they just wanted to use it for a gas mask. 🙂

  11. thanks for your visit to Monkeys on the Roof! really enjoyed browsing the Realm of the Last Grey Squirrel. Great blog! those gas masks could well appear in Chobe Game Reserve one day hehe that should confuse those dust busting elephants!

  12. Mark,
    You are ahead of your time in pain research. I agree that we both should get some kind of award. Cash might even be better.

    I suspect that those high school kids who were so adept at unhooking bras probably did not grow up to be scientists. The scientists- to-be were more likely the clumsy, inept and socially challenged nerds.

  13. Val,
    Better make sure your monkeys don’t get their hands on gas masks…..who knows what mischief they could create with them. Thanks for visiting and leaving such kind words.

    Why, thank you kindly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s