ig Noble Awards Home Page -
David Dunning of Cornell University and Justin Kreuger of the University of Illinois, for their modest report, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." (Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 77, no. 6, December 1999, pp. 1121-34.)
Jasmuheen (formerly known as Ellen Greve) of Australia, first lady of Breatharianism, for her book "Living on Light," which explains that although some people do eat food, they don't ever really need to.
Richard Wassersug of Dalhousie University, for his first-hand report, "On the Comparative Palatability of Some Dry-Season Tadpoles from Costa Rica." (Published in The American Midland Naturalist, vol. 86, no. 1, July 1971, pp. 101-9.)
Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Sir Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK), for using magnets to levitate a frog and a sumo wrestler. (REFERENCE: "Of Flying Frogs and Levitrons" by M.V. Berry and A.K. Geim, European Journal of Physics, v. 18, 1997, p. 307-13.)
Donatella Marazziti, Alessandra Rossi, and Giovanni B. Cassano of the University of Pisa, and Hagop S. Akiskal of the University of California (San Diego), for their discovery that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. (REFERENCE: "Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love," Marazziti D, Akiskal HS, Rossi A, Cassano GB, Psychological Medicine, 1999 May;29(3):741-5.)
The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, for bringing efficiency and steady growth to the mass-marriage industry, with, according to his reports, a 36-couple wedding in 1960, a 430-couple wedding in 1968, an 1800-couple wedding in 1975, a 6000-couple wedding in 1982, a 30,000-couple wedding in 1992, a 360,000-couple wedding in 1995, and a 36,000,000-couple wedding in 1997.
Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, Pek van Andel, and Eduard Mooyaart of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Ida Sabelis of Amsterdam, for their illuminating report, "Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal." (Published in British Medical Journal, vol. 319, 1999, pp 1596-1600.)
Chris Niswander of Tucson, Arizona, for inventing PawSense, software that detects when a cat is walking across your computer keyboard.
The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!"
Jonathan Wyatt, Gordon McNaughton, and William Tullet of Glasgow, for their alarming report, "The Collapse of Toilets in Glasgow." (Published in the Scottish Medical Journal, vol. 38, 1993, p. 185.)
Steve Penfold, of York University in Toronto, for doing his PhD thesis on the sociology of Canadian donut shops.
Dr. Len Fisher of Bath, England and Sydney, Australia for
calculating the optimal way to dunk a biscuit.
Professor Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck of the University of East Anglia, England,
and Belgium, for calculating how to make a teapot spout that does not drip.
The British Standards Institution for its six-page specification (BS-6008) of the proper way to make a cup of tea.
The Kansas State Board of Education and the Colorado State Board of Education, for mandating that children should not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution
any more than they believe in Newton's theory of gravitation, Faraday's and Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, or Pasteur's theory that germs cause disease.
Dr. Arvid Vatle of Stord, Norway, for carefully collecting, classifying, and contemplating which kinds of containers his patients chose when submitting urine samples. (REFERENCE: "Unyttig om urinprøver,"
Arvid Vatle, Tidsskift for Den norske laegeforening (The Journal of
the Norwegian Medical Association), no. 8, March 20, 1999, p. 1178.)
Takeshi Makino, president of The Safety Detective Agency in Osaka, Japan, for his involvement with S-Check, an infidelity detection spray that wives can apply to their husbands' underwear.
Dr. Paul Bosland, director of The Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, for breeding a spiceless jalapeno chile pepper.
Hyuk-ho Kwon of Kolon Company of Seoul, Korea, for inventing the self-perfuming business suit.
Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong of Johannesburg, South Africa, for inventing an automobile burglar alarm consisting of a detection circuit and a flamethrower.
MANAGED HEALTH CARE
The late George and Charlotte Blonsky of New York City and San Jose, California, for inventing a device (US Patent #3,216,423) to aid women in giving birth -- the woman is strapped onto a circular table, and the table is then rotated at high speed.
Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears. (REFERENCE: "Project Grizzly", produced by the National Film Board of Canada.)
Peter Fong of Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for contributing to the happiness of clams by giving them Prozac.
(REFERENCE: "Induction and Potentiation of Parturition in
Fingernail Clams (Sphaerium striatinum) by Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)," Peter F. Fong, Peter T. Huminski, and Lynette M. D'urso, "Journal of Experimental Zoology, vol. 280, 1998, pp. 260-64.)
Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, for their aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs.
Jacques Benveniste of France, for his homeopathic discovery that not only does water have memory, but that the information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the Internet. (NOTE: Benveniste also won the 1991 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize.)
(REFERENCE:"Transatlantic Transfer of Digitized Antigen Signal by Telephone Link," J. Benveniste, P. Jurgens, W. Hsueh and J. Aissa, "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - Program and abstracts of papers to be presented during scientific sessions AAAAI/AAI.CIS Joint Meeting February 21-26, 1997")
Dolores Krieger, Professor Emerita, New York University, for demonstrating the merits of therapeutic touch, a method by which nurses manipulate the energy fields of ailing patients by carefully avoiding physical contact with those patients.
Jerald Bain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Kerry Siminoski of the University of Alberta for their carefully measured report, "The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size." (Published in "Annals of Sex Research," vol. 6, no. 3, 1993, pp. 231-5.)
Deepak Chopra of The Chopra Center for Well Being, La
Jolla, California, for his unique interpretation of quantum
physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
economic happiness. (REFERENCE: Deepak Chopra's books "Quantum Healing," "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind," etc.)
Richard Seed of Chicago for his efforts to stoke up the
world economy by cloning himself and other human beings.
To Patient Y and to his doctors, Caroline Mills, Meirion Llewelyn, David Kelly, and Peter Holt, of Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport, Wales, for the cautionary medical report, "A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years." (Published in "The Lancet," vol. 348, November 9, 1996, p. 1282.)
Dr. Mara Sidoli of Washington, DC, for her illuminating report, "Farting as a Defence Against Unspeakable Dread." (Published in "Journal of Analytical Psychology," vol. 41, no. 2, 1996, pp. 165-78.]
T. Yagyu and his colleagues from the University Hospital
of Zurich, Switzerland, from Kansai Medical University in Osaka, Japan, and from Neuroscience Technology Research in Prague, Czech Republic, for measuring people's brainwave patterns while they
chewed different flavors of gum. (Published as "Chewing gum flavor affects measures of global complexity of multichannel EEG," T.
Yagyu, et al., "Neuropsychobiology," vol. 35, 1997, pp. 46-50.)
Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida, for his
scholarly book, "That Gunk on Your Car," which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile windows. (The book is published by Ten Speed Press.)
Richard Hoagland of New Jersey, for identifying
artificial features on the moon and on Mars, including a human face on Mars and ten-mile high buildings on the far side of the moon. (REFERENCE: "The Monuments of Mars : A City on the Edge of Forever," by Richard C. Hoagland, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA,1996.)
Sanford Wallace, president of Cyber Promotions of
Philadelphia -- neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night have stayed this self-appointed courier from delivering electronic junk mail to all the world.
John Bockris of Texas A&M University, for his wide-
ranging achievements in cold fusion, in the transmutation of base elements into gold, and in the electrochemical incineration of domestic rubbish.
Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg of
Israel, and Michael Drosnin of the United States, for their hairsplitting statistical discovery that the bible contains a secret, hidden code. (REFERENCE: Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg,'s original research was published as "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis," "(Statistical Science)," Vol. 9, No. 3, 1994,
pp. 429-38. Drosnin's popular book, "The Bible Code," was
published by Simon & Schuster.)
Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, Jr. of Wilkes
University, and James F. Harrison of Muzak Ltd. in Seattle, Washington, for their discovery that listening to elevator Muzak stimulates immunoblobulin A (IgA) production, and thus may help prevent the common cold.
Akihiro Yokoi of Wiz Company in Chiba, Japan and Aki
Maita of Bandai Company in Tokyo, the father and mother of Tamagotchi, for diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets.
Harold Hillman of the University of Surrey, England for his lovingly rendered and ultimately peaceful report "The Possible Pain Experienced During Execution by Different Methods." (Published in "Perception 1993," vol 22, pp. 745-53.)
Bernard Vonnegut of the State University of Albany,
for his revealing report, "Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed." (Published in "Weatherwise," October 1975, p. 217.)