Ig Nobels Awarded In Zany Ceremony

Plastic tape and duct tape festooned Sanders Theatre last night for "The Eighth, First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony," as the event was billed.

The focus of the ceremony, sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research, a scientific humor magazine, were awards given for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced."

The ceremony, a parody of the Nobel Prize presentation, was significantly less decorous than the real thing. Overseen by the "King and Queen of Swedish Meatballs," the ceremony's theme was duct tape.

Members of the audience, which filled Sanders, were dressed in duct tape garb, threw paper airplanes and chanted phrases such as "Ig, Ig, Ig," at various moments throughout the evening. An operetta titled "La Forza del Duct Tape" was performed in three parts.

The awards were presented by four winners of the real Nobel Prize: Higgins Professor of Physics Sheldon Glashow, who wore his medal to the event: Baird Professor of Science Dudley Herschbachi Lawrence Professor of Chemistry Emeritus William Lipscomb and Richard Roberts of New England Biolabs.


The Ig Nobel Award for Safety Engineering went to Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ont., for "developing and personallytesting a suit of armor impervious to grizzlybears."

A video of Hurtubise's research showed himtesting the suit by being beaten with baseballbats, thrown down a hill and hit by a car. Thesuit, equipped with a titanium endoskeleton, wasunveiled at the ceremony and was promptlybombarded by stuffed teddy bears thrown from theaudience.

In his acceptance remarks, Hurtubise said,"Well, I'm still alive."

The award for statistics went to Dr. JeraldBain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and KerrySiminoski of the University of Alberta for their"carefully measured" report, "The RelationshipAmong Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size."

"There is a very weak correlation," Bain said,accepting the award as the four Nobel laureatesstood at center stage in clown-sized shoes.

Some recipients were not present. The PrimeMinisters of Pakistan and India, who received theIg Nobel Peace Award for "their aggressivelypeaceful explosions of atomic bombs," were not onhand.

Also in absentia was Dolores Kreiger, ProfessorEmerita at New York University, who received theScience Education Ig Nobel for "demonstrating themerits of therapeutic touch," a method by which acaretaker manipulates the energy fields of ailingpatients by carefully avoiding physical contactwith patients.

Kreiger's prize was instead accepted by EmilyRosa, 11, who had debunked the theory in anarticle in the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation.

The award for literature went to Dr. MaraSidoli of Washington, D.C., for her report,"Farting as a Defense Against Unspeakable Dread,"published in the Journal of Analytical Psychology.

After all the winners had been announced, thefour Nobel laureates auctioned off personal itemssuch as chewed bubble gum, supermarket shoppinglists and junk mail. Glashow's cigar butts fetchedthe highest bid at $109