This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

BP, Street Titans 'Win' Ig Nobel Awards

Stocks in this article: GS BP AIG

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Executives of Goldman Sachs (GS), BP (BP), the former financial powerhouse Lehman Brothers, Merril Lynch (BAC), Magnetar Capital and AIG (AIG) were lauded Thursday night at Harvard University by a who's who of the world's top academics and several Nobel Prize recipients.

Sort of.

A sold-out theater in Cambridge, Mass., was the setting for the "20th first annual" Ig Nobel Awards, an off-kilter event that has become a must for academics from across the globe and the geeks who love them.

The annual Economics Prize was awarded to the above-mentioned Wall Street executives and directors for "creating and promoting new ways to invest money -- ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof."

Nobel laureates Roy Glauber, Sheldon Glashow and James Muller demonstrate the "Emergency Bra" during the Ig Nobel Awards ceremony Thursday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

One wonders if the Dick Fulds of the world would have grasped the subtlety of the final wait-for-it-wait-for-it clause or angrily protested "too soon, too soon." We'll never know, as the winners were "unable to join us tonight."

Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University and Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii were other winners. Their combined grasp of physics and chemistry relied on the research gold mine provided by BP's oil rigs to, once and for all, disprove "the old belief that oil and water don't mix." The company actually donated $500,000 a decade ago for the team's research into dispersing oil in the case of a spill, but clearly not enough to prevent an ecological and investor nightmare. "It's one of those cautionary tales. One should understand you have certain technologies that operate very well -- oil and gas recovery in the deep ocean -- but perhaps some of the technologies necessary to address," and here Masutani paused, "unpleasant events such as this past summer may not be in the same state of development. There's kind of a mismatch."

The event is the brainchild of the science journal/humor magazine the Annals of Improbable Research and co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.

The latter group must have been happy with special guest Neil Gaiman, an acclaimed author and groundbreaking comic book creator.

Joining the fray was the Siamese-twin singing duo Evelyn Evelyn (one half of which curiously resembled Gaiman's finance and collaborator, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls).

Marc Abrahams, editor of the journal, served as master of ceremonies and lyricist behind the world-premiere mini-opera interspersed with the awards, "The Bacterial Opera," about the gunk that lives on a sleeping woman's front tooth.

Endearingly low-tech plaques were presented to winners by five Nobel Laureates, Sheldon Glashow (physics, 1979), Roy Glauber (physics, 2005), Frank Wilczek (physics, 2004), James Muller (peace, 1985) and William Lipscomb (chemistry, 1976). The revered cadre of minds also took part in an Ig Nobel tradition, the Win-A-Date-With-A-Nobel-Laureate contest.

The meticulously researched and sourced work included the paper Rollercoaster Asthma: When Positive Emotional Stress Interferes with Dyspnea Perception; a team from the University of Otago, New Zealand, demonstrating that "on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes"; and a live demonstration of the principles behind Swearing as a Response to Pain.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,775.67 -2.48 -0.01%
S&P 500 2,063.38 +2.15 0.10%
NASDAQ 4,753.1840 +4.7880 0.10%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs