Les Ig Nobel 2006

ig_nobelSi vous trouvez que l’académie Royale des sciences de Suède manque un peu de fun vous pouvez toujours vous reporter sur les Ig Nobel. En effet, pendant que la prestigieuse académie Royale des sciences de Suède attribuait les prix Nobel scientifiques, au Sanders Theatre de Harvard (Etats-Unis) l’Ig Nobel de médecine récompensait deux médecins pour leurs travaux sur massage rectal digital pour soulager un patient atteint d’un interminable hoquet!
Chaque année, les Ig Nobel sont attribués par les Annales de la Recherche Improbable (tout un programme!) pour récompenser la science « qui fait d’abord rire, puis réfléchir par la suite ».

Le comité qui remet les prix est constitué de journalistes, de chercheurs et de vrais lauréats du prix Nobel.

Des français récompensés

Ces recherches qui peuvent paraître tout à fait loufoque sont en réalité tout a fait sérieuses et publiés souvent dans de prestigieux journaux.
L’Ig Nobel de physique a récompensé cette année Basile Audoly et Sébastien Neukirch, deux chercheurs français de l’université Pierre et Marie-Curie (Paris), pour avoir montré pourquoi un spaghetti, lorsqu’on le tort, se casse en plus de deux morceaux!
Cette recherche pourrait avoir des conséquence dans des domaines de la défense ou la recherche sur les fractures osseuses.

Les membres du comité des Ig nobel sont d'anciens lauréats du prix Nobel (le vrai). Trois anciens Nobel: (de gauche à droite) William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts et Dudley Herschbach

Les membres du comité des Ig nobel sont d'anciens lauréats du prix Nobel (le vrai). Trois anciens Nobel: (de gauche à droite) William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts et Dudley Herschbach

Le palmarès 2006 des Ig Nobel

ORNITHOLOGY: Ivan R. Schwab, of the University of California Davis, and the late Philip R.A. May of the University of California Los Angeles, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don’t get headaches.
REFERENCE: « Cure for a Headache, » Ivan R Schwab, British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 86, 2002, p. 843.
REFERENCE: « Woodpeckers and Head Injury, » Philip R.A. May, Joaquin M. Fuster, Paul Newman and Ada Hirschman, Lancet, vol. 307, no. 7957, February 28, 1976, pp. 454-5.
REFERENCE: « Woodpeckers and Head Injury, » Philip R.A. May, Joaquin M. Fuster, Paul Newman and Ada Hirschman, Lancet, vol. 307, no. 7973, June 19, 1976, pp. 1347-8.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Ivan Schwab

NUTRITION: Wasmia Al-Houty of Kuwait University and Faten Al-Mussalam of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority, for showing that dung beetles are finicky eaters.
REFERENCE: « Dung Preference of the Dung Beetle Scarabaeus cristatus Fab (Coleoptera-Scarabaeidae) from Kuwait, » Wasmia Al-Houty and Faten Al-Musalam, Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 35, no. 3, 1997, pp. 511-6.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Faten Al-Musalam

PEACE: Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing an electromechanical teenager repellant — a device that makes annoying high-pitched noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults; and for later using that same technology to make telephone ringtones that are audible to teenagers but probably not to their teachers.
REFERENCE: http://www.compoundsecurity.co.uk
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Howard Stapleton planned to attend, but his plans were interrupted by a family medical situation.

ACOUSTICS: D. Lynn Halpern (of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Brandeis University, and Northwestern University), Randolph Blake (of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University) and James Hillenbrand (of Western Michigan University and Northwestern University) for conducting experiments to learn why people dislike the sound of fingernails scraping on a blackboard.
REFERENCE: « Psychoacoustics of a Chilling Sound, » D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake and James Hillenbrand, Perception and Psychophysics, vol. 39,1986, pp. 77-80.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Lynn Halpern and Randolph Blake

MATHEMATICS: Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed
REFERENCE: « Blink-Free Photos, Guaranteed, » Velocity, June 2006,
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes

LITERATURE: Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report « Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly. »
REFERENCE: « Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly, » Daniel M. Oppenheimer, Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 20, no. 2, March 2006, pp. 139-56.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Daniel Oppenheimer

MEDICINE: Francis M. Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, for his medical case report « Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage »; and Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven of Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, for their subsequent medical case report also titled « Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage. »
REFERENCE: « Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage, » Francis M. Fesmire, Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 17, no. 8, August 1988 p. 872.
REFERENCE: « Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage, »
Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven, Journal of Internal Medicine, vol. 227, no. 2, February 1990, pp. 145-6. They are at the Department of Internal Medicine, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.
REFERENCE: « Hiccups and Digital Rectal Massage, » M. Odeh and A. Oliven, Archives of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 119, 1993, p. 1383.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Francis Fesmire

PHYSICS: Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, for their insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces.
REFERENCE: « Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half, » Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, Physical Review Letters, vol. 95, no. 9, August 26, 2005, pp. 95505-1 to 95505-1.
REFERENCE: video and other details at
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch

CHEMISTRY: Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito and José Bon of the University of Valencia, Spain, and Carmen Rosselló of the University of Illes Balears, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for their study « Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature. »
REFERENCE: « Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature, » Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito, José Bon, and Carmen Rosselló, Journal of Food Science, vol. 64, no. 6, 1999, pp. 1038-41.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via video recording.

BIOLOGY: Bart Knols (of Wageningen Agricultural University, in Wageningen, the Netherlands; and of the National Institute for Medical Research, in Ifakara Centre, Tanzania, and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna Austria) and Ruurd de Jong (of Wageningen Agricultural University and of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Italy) for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.
REFERENCE: « On Human Odour, Malaria Mosquitoes, and Limburger Cheese, » Bart. G.J. Knols, The Lancet, vol. 348 , November 9, 1996, p. 1322.
REFERENCE: “Behavioural and electrophysiological responses of the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: Culicidae) to Limburger cheese volatiles,” Bulletin of Entomological Research, B.G.J. Knols, J.J.A. van Loon, A. Cork, R.D. Robinson, et al., vol. 87, 1997, pp. 151-159.
REFERENCE: « Limburger Cheese as an Attractant for the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae s.s., » B.G,J. Knols and R. De Jong, Parasitology Today, yd. 12, no. 4, 1996, pp. 159-61.
REFERENCE: « Selection of Biting Sites on Man by Two Malaria Mosquito Species, » R. De Jong and B.G.J. Knols, Experientia, vol. 51, 1995, pp. 80–84.
WHO ATTENDED THE IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY: Bart Knols

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