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A bra that turns into a gas mask, a diamond made from Tequila, and research involving the feces of giant pandas were among the oddball winners honored with an Ig Nobel Prize.
The offbeat award recognizes achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think," and is organized by the Annals of Improbable Research, a magazine.
Here's a partial list of the winners (Check out the magazine's website for a full list):
PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining -- by experiment -- whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.
ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks -- Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland -- for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa -- and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.
CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid -- specifically from tequila.
MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand -- but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand -- every day for more than sixty (60) years.
PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.
PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over.
BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.
LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland's police service (An Garda Siochana), for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country -- Prawo Jazdy -- whose name in Polish means "Driving License".
The BBC describes the award ceremony at Harvard University, where real Nobel laureates handed out the prizes and an eight year-old monitored speeches.
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