The Annual Ig Nobel Prize was created to recognize discoveries and achievements "that cannot, or should not, be reproduced."
Some highlights include:
- 2006 MEDICINE: For the investigation "Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage."
- 2005 LITERATURE: The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.
- 2005 CHEMISTRY: For conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: "Will Humans Swim Faster or Slower in Syrup?" (Their finding was no difference)
- 2005 PHYSICS: For patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927 -- in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years. "The Pitch Drop Experiment."
- 2004 MEDICINE: For an investigation into "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide." (it increases suicide rates)
- 2004 BIOLOGY: For showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting.
- 2003 PHYSICS: "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."
- 2003 LITERATURE: For meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about things that annoyed him (such as: What percentage of young people wear baseball caps with the peak facing to the rear rather than to the front; What percentage of pedestrians wear sport shoes that are white rather than some other color; What percentage of swimmers swim laps in the shallow end of a pool rather than the deep end; What percentage of automobile drivers almost, but not completely, come to a stop at one particular stop-sign; What percentage of commuters carry attaché cases; What percentage of shoppers exceed the number of items permitted in a supermarket's express checkout lane; and What percentage of students dislike the taste of Brussels sprouts.)
- 2003 ECONOMICS: For making it possible to rent the entire country of Liechtenstein for corporate conventions, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other gatherings.
- 2001 TECHNOLOGY: Awarded jointly to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, for patenting the wheel in the year 2001, and to the Australian Patent Office for granting him Innovation Patent #2001100012.
- 2000 PHYSICS For using magnets to levitate a frog.
- 2000 CHEMISTRY: For their discovery that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
You can check out the full list of winners if you like.