Volume 46, Number 2, Fall 1998


The 1998 Ig Nobel Prizes, presented for achievements that “cannot or should not be reproduced,” were awarded October 8, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, before 1200 spectators in a ceremony filled with hijinks, paper airplanes, and duct tape. [For more on duct tape.] The winners were:

Safety Engineering: Canadian Troy Hurtubise of Ontario for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor impervious to grizzly bears.

Biology: Peter Fong of Gettysburg College for contributing to the happiness of clams by giving them Prozac. Peter Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac, accepted the prize on behalf of Fong. A tribute was also delivered by Jeffrey Woodman of Woodman’s restaurant in Essex, Mass., inventors of the fried clam.

Peace: Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan for their aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs.

Chemistry: Jacques Benveniste of France for his homeopathic discovery that not only does water have memory, but that the information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the Internet. NOTE: Benveniste is a repeat winner having won the 1991 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize.

Science Education: Dolores Krieger, Professor Emerita, New York University, “for demonstrating the merits of therapeutic touch, a method by which nurses manipulate the energy fields of ailing patients by carefully avoiding physical contact with those patients.” The prize was accepted on her behalf by 11-year-old Emily Rosa, who earlier this year debunked the theory in a JAMA article.

Statistics: Canadians Jerald Bain of Toronto and Kerry Siminoski of Alberta for their carefully measured report, “The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size.” NOTE: The four Nobel laureates in attendance wore gigantic shoes for the occasion.

Physics: Deepak Chopra of The Chopra Center for Well Being, La Jolla, Calif., for his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness.

Economics: Richard Seed of Chicago for his efforts to stoke up the world economy by cloning himself and other human beings.

Medicine: To Patient Y, and to his doctors at Royal Gwent Hospital in Wales, for the cautionary medical report, “A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years.”

Literature: Dr. Mara Sidoli of Washington, DC, for her illuminating report, “Farting as a Defense Against Unspeakable Dread.”

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