Each year, ten Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded. The selection criterion is simple. The prizes are for "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced." Examine that phrase carefully. It covers a lot of ground. It says nothing as to whether a thing is good or bad, commendable or pernicious.
(From What Is This Ig?)
2004 Ig Nobel Prize winners.
- Medicine Steven Stack and James Gundlach for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide."
- Physics Ramesh Balasubramaniam and Michael Turvey for exploring and explaining the dynamics of hula-hooping.
- Public Health Jillian Clarke for investigating the scientific validity of the Five-Second Rule about whether it's safe to eat food that's been dropped on the floor.
- Chemistry The Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain, for using advanced technology to convert liquid from the River Thames into Dasani, a transparent form of water, which for precautionary reasons has been made unavailable to consumers.
- Engineering Donald J. Smith and his father, the late Frank J. Smith, of Orlando Florida, USA, for patenting the combover (U.S. Patent #4,022,227).
- Literature The American Nudist Research Library of Kissimmee, Florida, USA, for preserving nudist history so that everyone can see it.
- Psychology Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it's all too easy to overlook anything else -- even a woman in a gorilla suit.
- Economics The Vatican, for outsourcing prayers to India.
- Peace Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other
- Biology Ben Wilson, Lawrence Dill, Robert Batty, Magnus Whalberg, and Hakan Westerberg, for showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting.