2014 Ig Nobel Prizes Recognize Outrageous Science

The 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes, honoring achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think, were awarded at Harvard University's historic Sanders Theatre on the evening of September 18, before 1,100 spectators in a ceremony filled with bananas, toast, dogs, cats, humans impersonating polar bears, opera singers, and paper airplanes. This was the 24th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (and the 20th consecutive year the ceremony was webcast). Most of the new winners journeyed to Harvard — at their own expense — to accept their prizes. The Ig Nobel Prizes were physically handed to the winners by four genuine Nobel laureates: Carol Greider (Nobel in Physiology or Medicine, 2009) Eric Maskin (Nobel in Economics, 2007), Rich Roberts (Nobel in Physiology or Medicine, 1993), and Frank Wilczek (Nobel in Physics, 2004). Rich Roberts was also given away in the Win-a-Date-with-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest. The event was produced by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" (AIR), and co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students. The ceremony included the premiere of "What's Eating You," a three-act mini-opera about people who stop eating food and instead nourish themselves exclusively with pills. This production starred soprano Maria Ferrante, baritone Scott Taylor, and a chorus of microbes (played by ten Boston-area biomedical researchers and the Nobel laureates). The festive ceremony also featured brief talks by Rob Rhinehart, who created the all-in-one food called Soylent, and by Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats (image), the prolific (more than 3,000 patents) Japanese inventor/politican/author, who was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2005 for having photographed every meal he had eaten during the previous 34 years. Dr.
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