Hurrah! The Ig-Nobel prizes are given out to people for the most pointless contributions to science. This year’s peace prize, for example, goes to Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie “Star Wars.”
I’m doing a PhD about William Gibson, a man whose fiction changed the face not only of science-fiction but of pretty much all modern society by shaping the way that we construct our views of computers; however, I am also fully aware that it will probably be read by a grand total of about ten people if I’m lucky. Even with the moderate futility of my own study I still think it is potentially of more cultural importance than the work of Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. They have been spending their time conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water? (Winner of the Chemistry award.)
This said, I quite like the sound of the project by the Economics winners…
See for yourself here.