Fact and Fiction

Thoughts about a funny old world, and what is real, and what is not. Comments are welcome, but please keep them on topic.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ig Nobel prize

The Ig Nobel prizes are awarded each year for "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced" (see here). They are an accidental by-product of the self-questioning system known as "science", because when you allow any question to be asked, then inevitably some very silly questions get asked. These questions lead to experiments being done in order to obtain the answers to the questions, and the results are duly reported in the scientific literature.

Science, by its very nature, encourages repeated asking of the same question, the aim of which is to reproduce the experimental results in order to increase confidence in the correctness of the results. The Ig Nobel prize specifically suggests that this rule should be waived for certain "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced".

To get an idea of what this is about here is an example of a prize-winning study:

The 2005 winner in the Fluid Dynamics section is Pressures produced when penguins pooh - calculations on avian defaecation (270kB PDF file), Polar Biology, vol. 27, 2003, pp. 56-8.


Post a Comment

<< Home