Awards Highlight Wacky, But Useful, Research
BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Each October, a science humor magazine called The Annals of Improbable Research gently spoofs the Nobel Foundation by presenting "Ig Nobel" prizes to scientific research projects with dubious merit.
The internationally acclaimed awards ceremony is famously silly. Attendees must rise from their seats to venerate the King and Queen of Swedish Meatballs. But the research is real, and honored recipients serve as proof that even the oddest university lab work might someday matter to the economy. So here's a sampling of some of the 2009 Ig Nobel winners, and why you should care about what they've done.
|: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman dons a bra that doubles as a gas mask.|
The Chemistry Prize: Three scientists from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico earned this honor by "creating diamonds from liquid - specifically from tequila."Why you should care: The scientists created diamonds in the form of thin films -- very thin layers of material used in semiconductors, microelectronic magnetic systems and, more recently, batteries. Thin-film diamonds are a big deal because diamonds are resilient and virtually impossible to scratch. Japanese steel maker Kobe Steel is among the companies that have researched thin film diamonds for practical use. The prizewinning scientists say they need to do more research before they look for business funding. They also acknowledge that diamond films can be produced using other liquids, such as water. However, "tequila is better," says Javier Morales, a graduate student who accepted his Ig Nobel prize wearing a giant sombrero. The Biology Prize: This award went to several scientists from Japan's Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences for "demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV