The Igs have become an irreverent highlight of the academic calendar, an annual exercise to celebrate research that makes people laugh first and think later. They are timed to coincide with the rather more lucrative and legitimate Nobels, which are awarded in Stockholm next week.
The ceremony is hosted by the tongue-in-cheek journal, Annals of Improbable Research, and is attended by real Nobel prizewinners and a 1,000-strong audience. This year’s recipients were given 60 seconds to deliver their acceptance speech, a time limit enforced by an eight-year-old girl.
David Sims of the Cass Business School in London, whose paper You Bastard: A narrative exploration of the experience of indignation within organisations, won the literature prize, said: “I’m delighted. The whole ethos of the Ig Nobels is a wonderful way to make people think.” The paper examines how people construct roles as clever bastards, devious bastards or bastard ex machina, and goes on to examine the mixture of joy and guilt of labelling someone as such.
The complete list of award winners is here.
My personal favorite: Dan Ariely at Duke University for demonstrating that expensive placebos are better painkillers than cheaper ones. I blogged about that research when it was published.