Ig NOBEL PRIZE.... FOR THOSE WHO CAN MAKE YOU LAUGH WITH SCIENCE RESEARCH.....
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on October 3, 2004

HULA-HOOPS IS FUN FOR KIDS =
CURE SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS
 &
FISH FART =  CELL PHONE FOR FISH

The dynamics of keeping Hula-Hoops swinging around your waist and the mysteries of fish fart have brought laugh-filled honours to three Canadian researchers.

The three were to be honoured last night at the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony in Boston. The prizes are given annually by a group loosely associated with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for research that "first makes people laugh and then makes them think."

While the Ig Nobels started in 1991 as a satiric take on dumb things in science (Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, was awarded the first Ig Nobel Peace Prize), the awards are generally seen by the scientific community as a light-hearted but positive achievement.

Please click on the next line to learn form Canadian Globe & Mail report how you can be a scientist who seriously can make people laugh and think seriously.....




Canadian scientists honoured for research
that's a light-hearted look at real problems


By STEPHEN STRAUSS
Canadian Globe & Mail: Friday, October 1, 2004 - Page A8

Ramesh Balasubramanian, a professor of human kinetics at the University of Ottawa, is a co-winner in the physics category, for a paper exploring and explaining the dynamics of Hula-Hooping.

"What we show is how the complex physics of the hoop can be balanced by very simple strategies of the nervous system," he said in an interview from Ottawa.

Prof. Balasubramanian said the dynamics of how a user can keep a Hula-Hoop in motion around the waist could prove helpful in research into a number of medical conditions, including strokes, in which the body's balancing mechanism fails.

"Understanding how the body keeps a Hula-Hoop up may help us understand how to compensate for these failings," he explained.

In the biology category, the use of flatulence by herrings to communicate with one another won honours for Ben Wilson, a professor of zoology at the University of British Columbia, and Lawrence Dill, a professor of behavioural ecology at Simon Fraser University, in conjunction with three European scientists. The phenomenon, which the B.C. researchers labeled the Fast Repetitive Tick, is created by air bubbles emerging from herrings. The researchers aren't sure what the fish are doing, but are exploring the possibility that the sound of flatulence can be heard only by other herrings and functions as a communication frequency that herring enemies, such as salmon, can't tap into.

The general light-heartedness of the Ig Nobel ceremonies (if acceptance speeches went on too long, a young girl was positioned on stage to announce, "Please stop, I'm bored") was applied to the Canadian accomplishments. The Hula-Hooping prize was celebrated by a middle-aged hoop champion attempting to show a group of Nobel Prize winners how to swing their plastic like a pro. The flatulent fish were to "speak" for themselves from audio recordings Prof. Wilson made of them.

While the Ig Nobels started in 1991 as a satiric take on dumb things in science (Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, was awarded the first Ig Nobel Peace Prize), the awards are generally seen by the scientific community as a light-hearted but positive achievement.

The awards don't carry monetary prizes.

"In the beginning I thought this was a dubious honour, but short of winning a Nobel Prize, I can't imagine getting more publicity," Prof. Balasubramanian said.

Canadian scientists, who have won eight previous Ig Nobels, have an impressive track record. According to Marc Abrahams, publisher of the Annals of Improbable Research, who dreamed up the awards, "Canada is more than pulling its weight in terms of Ig Nobels -- on per-capita basis, it is way up near the top of winning countries."

And why would that be?

"It is not that Canadians try to be different," he suggested, "it just doesn't occur to them that there is no reason not to be."

 



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