Sometimes researchers have valid and promising areas of study – areas that we can clearly see a benefit to humanity. Sometimes the research is a little ummm out of the ordinary…
Each year, just ahead of when the folks in Sweden announce the Nobel Prizes, Boston plays host to the ceremony at which the Ig Nobel Prizes are handed out. These awards are intended to “make people laugh, and then make them think,” and are handed out in a variety of nontraditional categories, presumably because the people involved pick the amusing research first, and then decide on a category to put it in.
The awards ceremony is rather elaborate, featuring a variety of honorary positions, some of them filled by Nobel Prize winners—Roy Glauber (physics, 2005), for example, is the official sweeper, charged with keeping the stage free of paper airplanes. The ceremony also typically features musical performances. This year, it played host to the first performance of The Bacterial Opera. The composers Verdi, Offenbach, and Arther Sullivan are all given posthumous credit for their contributions to the work.
Check it out here: Ig Nobel prizes awarded for bat fellatio, whale snot sampling, more