This Year's Not-So-Nobel Prizes

Spoof kudos for 'mad' scientist projects
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2008 8:06 AM CDT
Opera soloists Ben Sears and Maria Ferrante perform an opera about redundancy at the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard.   (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
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(Newser) – Researchers who proved Diet Coke is an effective spermicide, a nation's declaration that plants have rights, and a study that proved dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas have won Harvard University's annual Ig Nobel Prizes. The spoof awards recognize projects that "first make people laugh, and then make them think," reports the Boston Globe.

Among the top prizes:

  • Peace: The citizens of Switzerland take the cake for adopting the principle that plants have dignity.
  • Medicine: Behavioral economist Dan Ariely discovered that expensive placebos work better than cheap placebos.
  • Economics: The honorees discovered that exotic dancers make more money at the peak of their fertility cycles.
  • Nutrition: The winners' study asserts that food tastes better if its name is appealing.