by Chris Bertram on October 3, 2004

Chris Brooke has “an entertaining discussion of this year’s IgNobel prize for Medicine”:http://users.ox.ac.uk/~magd1368/weblog/2004_10_01_archive.html#109670769406562944 (“Effects of Country Music on Suicide”). A perusal of “all the winners over the years”:http://www.improb.com/ig/ig-pastwinners.html reveals some really good stuff. It turns out that the 1999 prize for physics was shared between Len Fisher — a former student of mine — who calculated the optimal way to dunk a biscuit and Professor Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck of the University of East Anglia who worked out how to make a teapot spout that doesn’t drip. I know I’m risking the ire of at least two of my CT colleagues here, but I can’t help having the thought that Vanden-Broeck’s researches potentially represent a greater contribution to human happiness than those of the majority of winners of the real Nobel prize for economics.



raj 10.03.04 at 4:14 pm

It should be noted that the Nobel prize for economics is not awarded by the Nobel committee, but by some Scandinavian bank.


John Quiggin 10.04.04 at 5:43 am

I’d cavil at “a majority”, but there are plenty of IgNobel candidates.


des von bladet 10.04.04 at 9:39 am

It should be noted that there is no Nobel prize for Economics, althought the The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is often mistaken for one. (Not least by economists.)


Ken Houghton 10.04.04 at 2:19 pm

Maybe if they gave it to an economist who actually worked to improve life, instead of those who explain why it is right and proper that people are kept poor, dirty, and busy. (last phrase truncated for cleanliness)

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