Posts Tagged ‘igNoble’

Food related 2007 IgNoble prizes

Sunday, October 7th, 2007


Slightly off topic (but with links to both food and science): At this time of the year it’s time for the IgNoble prizes – the entertaining cousins of the more serious Noble prizes! And once again several of them are awarded to food related research (in the broad sense that is):

NUTRITION: Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by secretly feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup. REFERENCE: “Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake,” Brian Wansink, James E. Painter and Jill North, Obesity Research, vol. 13, no. 1, January 2005, pp. 93-100. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink, Bantom Books, 2006, ISBN 0553804340.

CHEMISTRY: Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin — vanilla fragrance and flavoring — from cow dung. REFERENCE: “Novel Production Method for Plant Polyphenol from Livestock Excrement Using Subcritical Water Reaction,” Mayu Yamamoto, International Medical Center of Japan. PRESS NOTE: Toscanini’s Ice Cream, the finest ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a new ice cream flavor in honor of Mayu Yamamoto, and introduced it at the Ig Nobel ceremony. The flavor is called “Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist.”

MEDICINE: Brian Witcombe of Gloucester, UK, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, USA, for their penetrating medical report “Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects.” REFERENCE: “Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects,” Brian Witcombe and Dan Meyer, British Medical Journal, December 23, 2006, vol. 333, pp. 1285-7.

In case you wondered – this is in fact real research which has been published in scientific journals. The IgNoble slogan reads “First it makes you LAUGH, then it makes you THINK”. Enjoy!

IgNoble prize for food chemistry!

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Slightly off topic, but quite amusing: Last night the IgNoble prizes were awarded. Their slogan reads “First it makes you LAUGH, then it makes you THINK”. The 2006 IgNoble prize in chemistry was awarded to a research group studying “Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature”. Just in case you were wondering, melting fat is the reason for the varying ultrasonic velocities observed. And yes – this could be useful for determining mean temperatures in heating/cooling processes acording to the abstract. But why not just use a thermometer?

There was also a nutrition prize awarded to researches who showed that dung beetles are finicky eaters… yuck! My favorite IgNoble this year is the ornithology prize awarded to a team who explored why woodpeckers don’t get headackes!