Last nights Ig Nobel winners

Jay Thomas (
Fri, 10 Oct 1997 17:07:30 -0700

08:43 PM ET 10/09/97
''Ig Nobel'' prizes awarded for mediocrity

By Michael Ellis
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuter) - As the highly coveted Nobel
prizes were being handed out this week, a group of scientists
here awarded their own awards Thursday for more ``ignoble''
In a ceremony at Harvard University, The Seventh First
Annual Ig Nobel Prizes recognized more medicore and mundane
achievements than those distinguished in Sweden.
The Ig Nobels, named after Ignatius Nobel, the fictitious
inventor of soda pop, were handed out by four Nobel Prize
laureates, including 1976 Chemistry Prize winner William
Lipscomb, who was raffled off in the
Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest.
The Ig Nobel Literature Prize went to Michael Drosnin, the
author of the bestseller ``The Bible Code'' which claims the
Bible contains a secret code which predicted President Kennedy's
assassination and other ominous events in history.
``Every year, some of the winners are thrilled to win it,
and then of course some are not quite so thrilled,'' said Marc
Abrams, editor of the magazine Annals of Improbable Research,
which co-sponsors the Ig Nobels.
``And some of them we are not able to reach, because they
are in prison somewhere. This year is unusual because the
economics prize winner is not in jail,'' he said.
The Economics Prize acknowledged the Japanese inventors of
the virtual pet toy, Tamagotchi, for its contribution to
economics by wasting millions of working hours.
Sanford Wallace, the self-annointed ``Spam King'',
responsible for ``spamming'' or spewing millions of junk e-mail
messages to Internet users from his Philadelphia-based company
Cyber Promotions, took the Communications Prize.
``Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night have stayed this
self-appointed courier from delivering electronic junk mail to
all the world,'' the Ig Nobel committee said.
Two Wilkes University researchers won the Medicine Prize for
their discovery that listening to elevator music stimulates the
production of immunoglobulin A in the brain and thus may prevent
the commmon cold.
Prior to the prize ceremony, plaster casts of the left foot
of several Nobel Prize winners were auctioned off. ``It seemed
especially symbolic, although we don't know what its symbolic
of,'' Abrams said.
The ceremony was broadcast live on the Internet
( by Robert Morris, one of the first computer
hackers to be convicted for unleashing in November, 1988, a
''worm'' program that jammed an estimated 6,000 computers
connected to the Internet.

[Rohit: hey, back then, 6,000 was a HUGE chunk :-]