Monday, 6 October 2003

Ig Nobel Laureates

As an Australian, I'm proud to be able to congratulate some fellow Australians, the winners of the Ig Nobel prize for Physics in 2003, Jack Harvey, John Culvenor, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams.

They won for their groundbreaking report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces." [.pdf]
[PUBLISHED IN: Applied Ergonomics, vol. 33, no. 6, November 2002, pp. 523-31.]

From one of the joint winners, Dr John F. Culvenor ::
The Ignobel awards are about research that "first makes you laugh, then makes you think". The funny thing about our research was that one of the conclusions was that it is easier to pull a sheep downhill. Newton was right! The serious side is that changes to workplaces to improve safety are sometimes fairly straightforward. Listening to workers and putting into place good ergonomics and good science can yield dividends.
Previous Australian winners of Ig Nobels have included:
    Karl Kruszelnicki of The University of Sydney, for performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button lint -- who gets it, when, what color, and how much.
    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.[pdf]
    Jasmuheen (formerly known as Ellen Greve) of Australia, first lady of Breatharianism, for her book "Living on Light," which explains that although some people do eat food, they don't ever really need to.
There is no truth to the rumour that Jasmuheen has been employed as a consultant by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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